Both sides went into this fixture without a league win this season, what resulted was a convincing performance and victory for Liverpool, with Luis Suarez scoring a hat trick.
Norwich made wholesale changes to their team that beat Doncaster 1-0 in the League Cup. Grant Holt was again left out of the starting team, with Simeon Jackson and Steve Morison preferred.
Liverpool also made nine changes from the midweek win at West Brom. Nuri Şahin’s double meant he was selected in midfield, replacing the suspended Jonjo Shelvey, and Andre Wisdom was also handed his Premier League début in place of Martin Kelly, who was missing due to a long-term injury. Youngster Suso was also elevated to the starting XI for his league starting début.
Within two minutes Liverpool had taken the lead through a good finish from Luis Suarez. After an early spell of possession Liverpool was able to expose the Norwich defence, with Suarez capitalising.
The initial movement from Suarez allowed him to get in between the Norwich central defenders, as a result Leon Barnett moved into a deeper position in order to open his body up and be aware of Suarez. As he did this, Suarez pulled into the space in front of Barnett to receive the ball from Glen Johnson. With space now in behind, Nuri Şahin burst through. He was then tracked by both Bradley Johnson and Michael Turner.
Johnson’s through ball (aiming for the run of Şahin) was cut out, but Suarez nicked in front of Barnett and exploited the space where both B. Johnson and Turner should have been, before finishing past Ruddy.
Midway through the first half, perhaps Liverpool’s best passing combination occurred. Despite Norwich’s attempts to press, Liverpool was able to pass their way through and create a good chance.
Liverpool passed the ball across the back, from Agger to Reina, to Skrtel and Wisdom whilst under pressure from Norwich. However, as Norwich pressed, the back for did not step up, which created space between the lines. This allowed Wisdom to pass into Suso’s feet, who then flicked the ball with the outside of his boot onto Suarez and played a one-two leaving Suarez in behind the Norwich defence. Suarez’s resulting cross was too deep for Raheem Sterling to knock down for the on rushing Şahin, but the combination was ruthless.
Liverpool continued to dominate Norwich in the middle of the park, as Norwich was unable to combat Liverpool’s passing and movement from deep. Luis Suarez was also superb in exploiting the slow turning and sloppiness of the two central defenders. Moments after scuffing a brilliant 1-on-1 chance, Suarez scored again after dispossession and then nut-megging Turner, before curling the ball into the net with the outside of his boot.
Next Page: 2nd Half Analysis – more tactics and goals analysis
2nd Half Analysis
In the second half, Liverpool again scored an early goal, this time on the counter-attack. As Andrew Surman misplaced his pass, Joe Allen was able to win the ball and feed Raheem Sterling. Poor discipline from Russell Martin meant Sterling was able to evade his challenge. Luis Suarez then ran into the left channel, where Martin previously was, and Sterling smartly ran at Barnett to draw his attention before laying the ball off to Suarez. On the second attempt Suarez’s cut back found a Liverpool shirt, with Nuri Şahin again scoring.
Liverpool made it four, with Suarez getting his hat trick ten minutes later. Norwich’s back four was a shambles and caught way too narrow, allowing Suarez to drift into space to receive the ball and curl it into the far corner under minimal pressure.
Norwich Consolation Goals
Norwich pulled one back within five minutes after Reina threw out for Allen, only for Martin to nick in front and combine with Snodgrass. His resulting shot was too hot to handle for Reina (who probably felt he should have punched it away) and Morison finished from close range.
Liverpool continued to create chances and Gerrard was able to restore Liverpool’s four-goal advantage. Again the Norwich back four was caught out, this time Garrido.
Raheem Sterling made a smart dash in behind, only to check his run outwards. Garrido was now about 4 metres behind the rest of the Norwich back line, and when Gerrard fizzed in a pass to Sterling’s feet, Garrido kept Sterling onside and then was beaten.
Gerrard burst through midfield and eventually scored after a deflected shot off Sterling’s cut back.
Norwich again scored a consolation goal, this time through Grant Holt. An intelligent run into the space from substitute Wes Hoolahan drew debutant Wisdom into midfield. Grant Holt then exploited this space and was first to the pass (from Howson), beating the covering Skrtel before neatly finishing.
It was a goal fest at Carrow Road, with a dominate Liverpool leaving with all three points.
Liverpool was scintillating with their ball possession and movement, with Norwich being caught out again and again. A superb performance from Luis Suarez was the story of the day, however Liverpool still go without a clean sheet.