Balotelli scored for the first time in the Premier League since scoring for Manchester City against Wigan in November 2012 but it guaranteed him centre stage on a night when England strikers Daniel Sturridge and Harry Kane went head-to-head and were the focus of attention.
Both young English strikers were terrific with Kane scoring his 12th goal in his last 15 games while Sturridge drew the foul in the box that allowed Steven Gerrard’s 53rd-minute penalty to out Liverpool ahead.
Spurs levelled for a second time when Mousa Dembele finished from close range just after the hour mark but Balotelli smashed home Adam Lallana’s cross seven minutes from time for Liverpool to move within a point of Tottenham.
Arsenal moved above Manchester United into fourth place and the all important final Champions League spot with a 2-1 home victory over bottom-placed Leicester. Laurent Koscielny swept home a 27th-minute corner to hand Arsenal the lead before Mesut Ozil managed another assist when setting up Theo Walcott’s third goal in four games four minutes before the break. But it was a costly win for the Gunners as both Alexis Sanchez and Aaron Ramsey both had to leave the match due to injuries.
QPR finally picked up their first victory away from Loftus Road this season as they beat Sunderland 2-0. The win moved Rangers out of the relegation zone.
Hull also moved out of the relegation zone with a 2-0 win over Aston Villa who dropped into the bottom three in their place. Nikica Jelavic’s deflected 22nd-minute shot gave Hull the lead before new signing Dame N’Doye settled matters after 74 minutes with his first goal since completing a £3m move from Lokomotiv Moscow.
It was Hull’s first win since New Year’s Day as goal-shy Villa drew yet another blank in front of goal, the seventh time in eight games that Paul Lambert’s side have failed to find the net.
At the moment Villa look like a team that is going to get relegated unless owner Randy Lerner does something drastic in the next week or so and fire Paul Lambert.