Luka Modric
Tottenham Hotspur's Modric is brought down by Liverpool's Adam during their English Premier League match in London. REUTERS

An Emmanuel Adebayor-inspired Tottenham laid down their top-four intentions with a 4-0 victory over Liverpool on Sunday.

Liverpool suffered their worst defeat in eight years as Spurs punished an erratic away performance which saw Kenny Dalglish's side reduced to nine men by the 64th minute.

Luka Modric opened the scoring with a rasping 20-yard strike before Charlie Adam collected his second yellow card for a late challenge on Scott Parker.

Martin Skrtel was sent off after a late foul on Gareth Bale saw the defender pick up his second yellow card of the afternoon before Jermain Defoe scored with a neat finish to put Spurs 2-0 up.

Liverpool's dismal afternoon continued when Adebayor's composed chip over goalkeeper Pepe Reina left him with a simple chance to give the home side a 3-0 lead.

The rout was completed in injury time when Adebayor scored his second and Spurs' fourth with a rising half-volley from close range.

"All we can do after that is try to learn and improve from this," Dalglish said.

"Tottenham started better than us, we never reached the level we wanted to and the only people who take any credit from this performance is our fans, who continued to back us all the way.

"There will be controversy with the red cards, but there is no point in me talking about that. The truth is we need to go back to the drawing board, dust ourselves down and, if this result hurts my players, then I am happy. This should hurt and I would not want to take anything away from Tottenham because they were excellent."