Liverpool, spearheaded by a scintillating Luis Suarez, thump five past a hapless Norwich City for the third consecutive time.
Fresh from beating the same opposition 5-0 and 5-2 last season, Liverpool were at it again on Wednesday night with a 5-1 victory over Norwich which also helped to banish some of the pain caused by a shock weekend defeat to Hull City.
Kop boss Brendan Rodgers made three changes for the game with Daniel Agger, Joe Allen and Philippe Coutinho replacing Kolo Toure, Lucas Leiva and Victor Moses respectively.
The desire to make amends for Sunday’s dropped points was evident from the off with the men in red setting a great tempo and looking to get forward at every opportunity.
Jordan Henderson had already missed two presentable openings by the time the Suarez Show commenced in the 15th minute.
There appeared to be little danger to the visitors when the Uruguayan ran onto a bouncing ball that was closer to the halfway line than the penalty area.
The dipping volley which followed was a strike of opportunist brilliance that few players would have even thought of, let alone attempted, and it left John Ruddy ruthlessly exposed as the strike sailed past him.
The shot stopper probably felt a mixture of déjà vu and trepidation as he retrieved the ball, knowing Suarez’s tally against the Canaries already stood at seven goals in four games before kick-off.
Any such feelings would have been strengthened 14 minutes later when the former Ajax man diverted Coutinho’s low corner home to double the lead.
Six minutes after that and the game was effectively ended as a contest courtesy of another strike from Suarez which was arguably better than even his first one.
The 26-year-old was surrounded by players on the edge of the box but dinked the ball over Leroy Fer before arrowing a drive into the far corner via an exquisite piece of technique.
Norwich did have decent chances of their own during the first half, most notably through Wes Hoolahan when the score was still at 0-0, but paid the price for leaving main marksman Gary Hooper on the bench.
The opening exchanges of the second 45 minutes were fairly even with both sides having attacking spells and it was a slight surprise it took until the 74th minute for the next goal to arrive.
Suarez notching his, and Liverpool’s, fourth with another fine strike, this time direct from a set-piece.
Liverpool fans have certainly been spoilt for great free-kicks in recent weeks after previous efforts against Everton and at the KC Stadium on Sunday.
One negative from the match came in the 83rd minute when Bradley Johnson produced a precise header to register a consolation for the Nolfolk-based outfit.
Although the goal, following a great Nathan Redmond cross, was a good one it meant the Merseysiders have now kept just one clean sheet in their past 12 matches.
It was to provide only a short respite for Chris Hughton’s men however and they were soon back to picking the ball out of their own net as Raheem Sterling completed the scoring.
The young winger’s firm finish coming, you’ve guessed it, from a Suarez assist before Norwich’s tormentor in chief left the field to a rapturous reception during injury time.
A great performance which will rightly be dominated by the exploits of Suarez. It was imperative the side bounced back to winning ways and they did so comfortably and then some. Norwich will obviously be sick of playing us but they shouldn’t feel too downhearted; this team, with Suarez at the helm, are capable of thrashing anyone on their day. Hopefully there is no let up against West Ham United on Saturday and the result at Hull can be further banished from memory. Results elsewhere didn’t go for us unfortunately so we remain fourth but all we can do is concentrate on ourselves and hopefully that will be enough come May to secure Champions League football once more next season. This result could prove decisive if things come down to goal difference.
Luis Suarez – I said in the preview that I wanted to see the Uruguayan spend more time in the box, given the absence through injury of Daniel Sturridge, and criticised him for trying to do things single-handily too often and spending too much time and energy dropping wide and deep. In conclusion; sometimes I talk crap! Last night Suarez was at his imperious best and scoring individual goals from all angles and distances as only he can. He will never be a traditional centre-forward and when someone has so much talent it is often best just to let them express it freely. Truly world class.
Mignolet, Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Flanagan, Allen, Henderson (Alberto 69′), Gerrard, Coutinho, Sterling, Suarez (Aspas 92′).
Unused subs: Jones, Sakho, Toure, Lucas, Moses.
Click here to read the manager’s thoughts
Click here to see comprehensive match stats
Follow me on Twitter @superbag
|Not a Vital Liverpool member? It’s 100% free to join & only takes a few moments to sign up. Click here to become a member or alternatively simply sign in using Social Media!|