Liverpool host Premier League strugglers Norwich this weekend, after a successful Champions League victory in the week. They managed to see off Inter Milan (in a 0-2 away win), and return from Italy to resume their on going league campaign.
Norwich currently sit 18th in the league, and fighting for survival. After last weeks’ drubbing at home to Manchester City, they now have an equally tough task with a visit to Anfield. With much of the country currently weathering a storm, Dean Smith may be expected to weather much of the same against the division’s second placed side.
With Tim Krul, Jakob Sorensen and Andrew Omobamidele all still ruled out, the Canaries can at least hope to see Adam Idah, Lukas Rupp and Ozan Kabak back for the weekend. Kabak returning to his old club would be a huge plus for Smith, with the young defender starting to show why Liverpool nearly signed him last summer. A solid performance will be needed, and an open game is unlikely for Smith.
Norwich will inevitably look to batten down the hatches, and condense space within their defensive third. Short of a possible start for Kabak, the team should remain as that which started against City. With Teemu Pukki up top, he could be looking at long spells without the ball, yet has a history of scoring against the reds.
For Liverpool, it’s a critical week across two competitions. Jurgen Klopp has two home games in the league this week, before a League Cup Final against Chelsea next Sunday. Before Leeds on Wednesday, Liverpool must tackle a struggling Norwich, and will look to gain six points before the final. Every game is must win, so the intensity level should be sky high.
With rotation likely in the next two games, Kostas Tsimikas could well come in for Andy Robertson at left back, with James Milner a potential starter at right back. Joel Matip will be vying with Joe Gomez for a start, and the midfield could see any three start from a fully fit list of attackers. Up top, Luis Diaz will be hoping for another start, and if Diogo Jota is our injured, Roberto Firmino will start through the middle. Mohamed Salah should continue from the right, with all the forwards wanting to impress before next weekends Final against Chelsea.
In what should be a tough match for Norwich, Liverpool will surely look to overwhelm the East Anglian side. With a high tempo and a strong set piece game, the reds will want to make sure they score early and avoid a game of frustration. Expect moments from Norwich, as they continue to look for vital points, but a home win should eventually prevail.
Player to watch – Luis Diaz
Liverpool 3 – 0 Norwich