Norwich City 0-3 Liverpool

 

 

Luis Suarez (pictured left) looks to escape away from Norwich's Adam Drury (right) early on in a memorable game for the Reds striker 


 

By Adam Higgins
Chief Football Editor from Carrow Road
 


A brilliant 45-yard strike from Luis Suarez completed his hat-trick to help Liverpool brush aside Norwich City as they hit form at the right time ahead of next weekend's FA Cup final.

Suarez scored his first after seizing on Steven Gerrard's through-ball and curling into the far corner. His second followed when he surged down the right and fired low into the bottom corner beyond John Ruddy. Jonjo Shelvey hit the bar with a header before Suarez completed his hat-trick in stunning fashion, lobbing Ruddy from close to the halfway line. The Uruguyan's third was the pick of an impressive bunch as he pounced on Elliott Ward's failure to keep possession near the halfway line then, spotting Ruddy off his line, executed an inch-perfect chip over the sprawling keeper.

It sealed a welcome victory for Liverpool, who had looked in danger of sinking into the bottom half after winning two of 11 league matches before this one. Although Chelsea await in the Cup final at Wembley next Saturday, Kenny Dalglish's team did not look distracted as they bid to record back-to-back wins for the first time in six months. Mid-table Norwich look like a side who are winding down for the season and have lost three in a row for the first time in this impressive campaign for them.

It was an uncharacteristically clinical first-half display from Liverpool, with Suarez looking sharp and working well in tandem with the returning Gerrard, who had been rested last weekend for the 1-0 defeat at home to West Bromwich Albion.


? DID YOU KNOW ?

Before the game, only Wolves' six points picked up in the league in 2012 is worse than the twelve that Liverpool have gained in that time.


Liverpool wasted more chances in the second period but still looked in command. Paul Lambert's men were sloppy and missed the final-third physicality of Grant Holt, who only came on for the final 15 minutes. Holt's omission was one of five changes made by Norwich City, which was the same number of alterations that Liverpool made to their starting line-up, as Andy Carroll was left out of the squad completely after suffering a calf problem in the Anfield loss last Sunday. Charlie Adam has been ruled out for the rest of the season through a knee injury. That meant there were fifteen English players starting, equalling the most in a Premier League fixture this season, the other being Bolton's 5-0 victory over Stoke on 6th November.

With so many changes, it was a low-key opening quarter as neither side gelled particularly effectively, but Norwich switched off for a four-minute spell and Suarez punished them. It was liable that Norwich would concede having kept just two clean sheets all campaign and Gerrard provided the spark that led to Suarez's opener. He caught David Fox napping by intercepting a weak pass and then delivered the ball early to the Uruguayan, who burst clear and curled the ball into the far corner exquisitely. The Reds, who had lost seven of their previous ten league games, nearly added a second instantly as Suarez cut the ball back for the unmarked Gerrard, whose sixteen-yard shot looked to be heading into the back of the net as the captain applied considerable power although it was deflected behind off Ryan Bennett.

However, the Canaries have picked up more points from losing positions than any other side in the Premier League this season and still looked likely of catching a shaky Liverpool defence off guard with Morison running the channels well. He held the ball up for Bradley Johnson who smacked his effort miles too high as it sailed over the crossbar.

Norwich- who could have moved level on points with Liverpool had they won- were looking unsettled all the time and the next goal came when Ward's failure to keep the ball allowed Suarez to go racing down the right flank before cutting inside and arrowing in powerfully beyond the reach of John Ruddy in the bottom corner. After that, Dalglish's men started to look particularly comfortable in possession and in control of the game.


? DID YOU KNOW ?

Liverpool have now won eight Premier League away games this season-  only the top three can better that number- while they have three more victories on the road than they have at Anfield.


More fight was shown by Norwich early in the second half as Elliott Bennett unleashed a fantastic twenty-five yard attempt which Pepe Reina saved comfortably having watched it move viciously in the air, then Bradley Johnson headed narrowly wide from Anthony Pilkington's corner.

After Liverpool wasted several more opportunities, including Shelvey's headed attempt straight at former Everton keeper Ruddy and a Suarez chip from sixteen yards which landed on the roof of the net, Norwich sensed they could find a way back into the game with Grant Holt thrown into the mix off the bench for good measure. Another ex-Evertonian James Vaughan headed wide from Russell Martin's deep cross while the forward also had a shot on the swivel tremendously blocked by Jamie Carragher. Shelvey than hit the bar with another header this time from Enrique's cross- the 31st time Liverpool have hit the woodwork this season in the Premier League.

But the game was over when Suarez sealed his first Liverpool hat-trick in sublime style when he chipped Ruddy, who was in splendid form at Anfield in the 1-1 draw between the two sides earlier in the season, from near to the halfway line with eight minutes to go before minutes later receiving a rapturous applause from the pocket of Liverpool fans inside Carrow Road as he left the field to be replaced by Dirk Kuyt.


ANALYSIS
Adam Higgins
The Football Site- Chief Football Editor

"It was a brilliant victory for Liverpool on the back of some recent disappointing results none more so than the defeat to West Bromwich Albion at home last weekend. With the FA Cup final on the horizon, they needed to put in a good performance today and some players needed to prove that they are worthy of a starting place at Wembley. Several members of the team justified this especially Luis Suarez with a special hat-trick. The three goals were of the highest quality with the last one a contender for goal of the season for sure. He is a talented player despite his other antics and the fact he is not everyone's cup of tea. Norwich have gone off the boil of late and are just waiting for the end of the season in truth. Paul Lambert will not want standards to drop after what has been a fantastic season for them back in the Premier League."

 


Saturday 28th April 2012

Barclays Premier League

Carrow Road

 

Norwich City 0-3 Liverpool                                 KO 5:30pm            (HT 0-2)

                       Suarez 24, 28, 82

 

Norwich City:  1 Ruddy- 6.5/10, 25 Naughton- 7/10, 22 Ward- 5.5/10, 33 R Bennett- 6/10, 3 Drury- 2/10 (R Martin 12- 6.5/10), 17 E Bennett- 6.5/10, 4 Johnson- 6/10, 15 Fox (C)- 6/10 (Vaughan 45- 6.5/10), 24 Howson- 6.5/10, 12 Pilkington- 7/10, 5 Morison- 6/10 (Holt 76- 3.5/10).

Subs not used:  31 Steer, 11 Surman, 14 Hoolahan, 21 Wilbraham

Booked:      Ward (42), Howson (45+1), Vaughan (65), R Bennett (70)

Liverpool:  25 Reina- 8/10, 2 Johnson- 7.5/10, 23 Carragher- 6.5/10, 5 Agger- 8/10, 3 Jose Enrique- 7.5/10, 14 Henderson- 6.5/10, 8 Gerrard (C)- 7/10 (Coates 85- 2/10), 33 Shelvey- 7.5/10, 19 Downing- 7/10, 7 Suarez- 9.5/10 (Kuyt 85- 2/10), 39 Bellamy- 6.5/10.

Subs not used:  32 Doni, 34 Kelly, 37 Skrtel, 11 Maxi, 20 Spearing

Booked:      None

 

My Man of the Match:     Luis Suarez (Liverpool)- Rating 9.5/10

My Poorest Performer of the Match:    Elliott Ward (Norwich City)- Rating 5.5/10 

 

 

Referee: Mark Halsey (Lancashire)- 9/10
Attendance: 26,819

 

 

Match Facts

Possession: Norwich- 39%                Liverpool- 61%

Shots: Norwich- 8                      Liverpool- 15

Shots on target: Norwich- 3                  Liverpool- 9

Shots off target: Norwich- 5                  Liverpool- 6

Corners: Norwich- 5                     Liverpool- 7

Fouls: Norwich- 9                     Liverpool- 4

Offside: Norwich- 2                       Liverpool- 5

Assists: Norwich- None                   Liverpool- Gerrard, Agger

 

 

Norwich City manager Paul Lambert

"You can't defend in that way against that calibre of player and think you can get away with it. If you're not 100% on your game, these things can certainly happen. It's a sore one. There are not many times when I have walked away from here disappointed in the three years I've been here but that was disappointing. I don't think we've ever lost three in a row - it's not too bad that it's taken this length of time - but we've still got two massive games to try to get through and that's what we'll try to do. I don't want us to lie down and think that the season is over because it isn't. I want us to put in two good performances in the final matches and show everybody that this run we are on is just a blip. We have a good season and we want to keep it going in the couple of weeks remaining. Liverpool were the better side today and we were comfortably second best. We never got going- you need to start quickly in every match in the Premier League especially against teams like Liverpool who can punish you when they have players like (Luis) Suarez like he did today."

Click here for the post-match interview with Canaries boss Paul Lambert 

 

 

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish

"He (Suarez) is a special player. It was a fantastic performance from us in all areas of the pitch. Everybody knows what's coming ahead on Saturday but the team did their jobs professionally and efficiently. The players who play on Tuesday will have the same determination to get the victory. I can't guarantee we will be as good as that but the players who play will do as well as they can. We have got a big Cup final next week and although it is obvious that the players are going to have that in mind and be looking forward to it, I want their minds focused on the next match always which is against Fulham. Luis has been like that many times this year and not been rewarded - and it's the same with the team. That third goal is not difficult to score if you've got Luis Suarez's ability - it's more difficult if you are a mere mortal. The clean sheet was also important for us. It gives the defenders and Pepe Reina a bit of a boost."

Click here to hear the thoughts of Reds boss Kenny Dalglish after the match

Click here to listen to the views of Reds captain Steven Gerrard after the match 

 

Make a Free Website with Yola.