On the back of two successive defeats in the Premier League, Brendan Rodgers faces a must win game when Norwich visit Anfield on Sunday.
His future at the club is what will dominate headlines regardless of the result, and following a decent draw with a second string side against Bordeaux in midweek, Liverpool need the three points to keep up pace with United, who beat them last week, and Arsenal with both teams still only 3 points ahead of them.
Norwich occupy the place above the Merseysiders on goal difference, which was boosted by a 3-1 win over Bournemouth last weekend.
Alex Neil’s side have done well having come up via the playoffs last season and anything they will gain on Sunday will be a bonus considering the fact that they have a few winnable games coming up after this until the end of October when they visit Manchester City.
The home side have historically prevailed in this fixture, which was further skewed in their favour by Luis Suarez scoring 12 goals in just 6 appearances.
Norwich though are enjoying their best start to a Premier League season since 1993 when they had 10 points after 5 games and Alex Neil has only suffered one defeat away from home in the league as a Norwich City manager so they have every chance of making this a closer encounter than in the recent past.
There will be wholesale changes in the side that played in France on Thursday. Christian Benteke, Martin Skrtel, James Milner, Nathaniel Clyne and Roberto Firmino will return to the starting XI while Phillippe Coutinho will also start having served a one match suspension.
Kolo Toure suffered a dead leg against Bordeuax and will miss out along with Allen and Flanagan.
Jordan Henderson, Joe Allen and Daniel Sturridge will be undergo a late fitness test, while Mamadou Sakho could start having played well in the Europa League.
Gary Hooper and Yousuf Mulumbu continue to miss out through injuries.
Steven Whittaker will return to the side after a one game ban to replace Andre Wisdom at left-back who is ineligible to face his parent club.
Last Five Meetings
20 Apr 2014 Norwich City 2 – 3 Liverpool Premier League
04 Dec 2013 Liverpool 5 – 1 Norwich City Premier League
19 Jan 2013 Liverpool 5 – 0 Norwich City Premier League
29 Sep 2012 Norwich City 2 – 5 Liverpool Premier League
28 Apr 2012 Norwich City 0 – 3 Liverpool Premier League
There have been 26 goals scored in the last five league meetings – 21 of them by Liverpool.
Liverpool have scored at least 3 goals in their last 5 matches against Norwich in all competitions, including five in three of the past four meetings
Liverpool have won their last 5 matches against Norwich in all competitions.
Liverpool could lose three Premier League matches in a row under Brendan Rodgers for only the second time. They suffered three straight defeats in November 2014.
Only Newcastle have scored fewer league goals than Liverpool’s three so far in 2015-16.
No side has scored as many Premier League goals against Norwich City as Liverpool – 39.
Norwich have failed to score in 5 of their last 6 away matches in the Premier League.
Norwich have failed to win 12 of their last 13 away matches in the Premier League.
Norwich last won at Anfield in 1993/94.
Liverpool: Christian Benteke
Liverpool’s top scorer this season, albeit with just two goals so far, relishes playing against Norwich against whom he has scored 4 goals in 5 appearances. His remarkbale overhead kick at Old Trafford was Liverpool’s only bright moment of the game and the Big Belgian seems like solving their attacking woes from last season. He averages 2.4 shots per game which will no doubt increase as the new players start gelling up, and some fluidity increases in Liverpool’s play.
As of now, they play a lot of long balls to the big Belgian as a result of which he has won 9.8 ariel duels per game, not many of them inside the box. The return of Coutinho and a need to play a less direct style should facilitate better service to him which will undoubtedly put him in better positions to get on the scoresheet.
Norwich: Wes Hoolahan
One of the standout players of the Canaries season so far, Hoolahan has bagged 4 assists along with a goal and is averaging 2.2 key passes per game. The Republic of Ireland midfielder was magnificient last time around setting up Jerome’s opener after a brilliant run before scoring a superb goal himself.
Norwich’s chances of gaining anything at Anfield will depend on the 32-year-old stamping his authority on the game, and Liverpool’s unstable defence bodes well for that to happen.
A narrow Liverpool win. 2-1.