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Norwich City 2 - 5 Liverpool

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Luis Suarez hit a second hat-trick in successive years at Carrow Road as Liverpool recorded a first Premier League win at their sixth attempt.

That treble plus goals from Nuri Sahin and Steven Gerrard points to the distance in quality between the two sides on the day. Though Steve Morison and Grant Holt did grab a consolation apiece.  

Of more consequence than a personal triumph for Suarez was the manner in which the Reds went about their business. There have been hints and brief showings of the relentless game-plan Brendan Rodgers wishes to exert. 

It was on show for almost the whole 90 minutes in Norfolk. The all-important midfield control and high tempo pressing the manager prefers was married to vice-like grip on possession. Thrusts from each wing barely dropped throughout the piece.

Crucially there was no small measure of ferocity in front of goal. 

Norwich struggled to cope with the rotation Gerrard and Sahin practised in adding support to the front three.

Sahin in particular, though not exclusively, dovetailed nicely with Suarez barely failing to read a run or ball the South American made or supplied.   

Three players were retained from the midweek win over West Bromwich Albion – Suso, Andre Wisdom and Sahin, scorer of both goals in that Capital One Cup victory.

That selection brought full Premier League debuts for Suso and Wisdom. The latter came in for Martin Kelly at right-back. Glen Johnson remained on the opposite flank.

Elsewhere in defence Daniel Agger made it back from the bone bruising which threatened his participation.

Fabio Borini was also declared fit. But sat on the bench throughout.   

Norwich made two changes from their 1-0 defeat by Newcastle United last weekend. Michael Turner stepped in for Sebastien Bassong. Simeon Jackson replaced Wes Hoolahan.

It took little more than a minute for Suarez to show that his game had as much opportunism as elegance.

The striker latched onto a hurried clearance close to the edge of the area and after taking a touch steered the ball low into the left hand corner.     

Norwich were forced to rush through the small pockets of possession they were allowed and had problems stringing more than a couple of passes together for lengthy periods of the opening half.    

Simeon Jackson was denied when Pepe Reina used an arm and knee to guide a close range effort onto his post. The Canadian international had steamed towards the back stick in order to meet a cross which made its way through and made a good connection.

His volleyed punt at goal later in the period was less impressive. Jackson appeared composed as he watched a headed ball drop kindly but blazed over.     

There were no claims for a penalty when Leon Barnett’s timing was perhaps a split second late as he challenged Suarez for a bouncing forward ball within the area.

The pair met again deep inside the box. This time a spot-kick seemingly undeniable as the defender bundled Suarez over during a chase for nothing more than a regulation punt upfield. The Uruguayan’s response was muted but failed to impress the officials.

After the pair exchanged passes in midfield an angled Suarez cross picked up Gerrard’s run from midfield – though John Ruddy parried the resulting header.

One-on-one with the keeper, following his release by Agger, Suarez should have doubled the lead close to the break but profited when the goal-kick his lack of sharpness handed the Canaries was played short.

Catching Turner in possession Suarez turned inside allowed him to roll the ball between the defender’s legs and then finish with the outside of his left foot.

Not long after the restart Sahin extended the lead when Suarez collected his initial centre for Raheem Sterling off a Norwich defender’s shins, then crossed for the Turkish international who arrived late but unmarked to slide an effort in.   

The pair reversed the provider and scorer roles ten minutes later when Sahin had time to pick out Suarez, who was also given far too much space and curled a shot in to register his treble.

There was to be no clean sheet. Though the Liverpool posts had lived something of a charmed life.

In the first attack of the second half Robert Snodgrass had deflected Andrew Surman’s shot over Reina’s crossbar. The ball looked likely to be heading away from goal but the intervention was only a few yards out.

One or two ricochets had prolonged the blank account Norwich held. Shots also drifted wide – sometimes narrowly so.   

Steve Morison picked up the pieces when the keeper could only awkwardly bundle Russell Martin’s shot back into the danger zone.

Just before the close Grant Holt guided the ball in after getting past Martin Skrtel a little too easily for comfort – Renia could do no more than lay a glove on the ball as it flew across him.       

Between the two home goals Gerrard had registered the fifth with a wildly deflected shot from just outside the area.

Sterling’s ball inside after his run stretched the defence gave the skipper an opportunity to take aim. The pass back inside rather than a cross demonstrated that the 17-year-old was thinking about selecting the right pass rather than just delivering an end product.  

Suarez came close to grabbing a fourth but after beating Turner and wrong-footing Barnett in the same move - another switch inside – he rolled the ball wide.  

 

Norwich City: Ruddy, Russell Martin, Turner, Barnett, Garrido, Snodgrass, Howson, Johnson, Surman (Hoolahan), Morison (Tettey), Jackson (Holt)           Unused Substitutes: Bunn, Tierney, Bennett R, Bennett E

Liverpool: Reina, Wisdom, Agger, Skrtel, Johnson (Carragher), Sterling, Sahin (Henderson), Allen, Suso (Assaidi), Gerrard, Suarez           Unused Substitutes: Jones, Coates, Downing, Borini

 

Match Stats

Possession

Norwich City                              50%                                          Liverpool                      50%

 

Shots on target

Norwich City                                7                                              Liverpool                        6

 

Shots off target

Norwich City                                3                                              Liverpool                        4

 

Corners

Norwich City                                5                                              Liverpool                        5