Liverpool will be determined to recover from defeats in their last two Premier League matches as they take on a Norwich City side that currently lies above them on goal difference.
A positive first three weeks of the season which yielded seven points now seems like a distant memory for all concerned with the Reds, who had an afternoon to forget against West Ham United on their last Anfield outing and were then dispatched by arch rivals Manchester United in a display which led to manager Brendan Rodgers being criticised in some quarters for a lack of ambition; as they only showed a real attacking intent after going behind.
The suspended Philippe Coutinho was a big miss, but even had he been on the pitch it is unlikely that Christian Benteke’s truly spectacular bicycle kick would have counted for something due to their naïve defending – which also cost them for Bordeaux’s equalising goal in the Europa League on Thursday. This is a huge game for Rodgers, who is coming under increasing scrutiny from supporters and must deliver results quickly.
The visitors will come here without the slightest bit of fear and will feel that they are more than capable of gaining a possible result given the ragged nature of Liverpool’s recent performance. Alex Neil has publically backed his counterpart ahead of this clash, but will have designs on plunging the Northern Irishman’s position into greater doubt, with the Canaries looking to continue from where they left off against Bournemouth in their last game.
It was a dominant showing from start to finish as the carved open the Cherries’ defence with regularity. Wes Hoolahan was the star man on the day, and he has proved on numerous occasions before now that he has the ability to unlock any backline, particularly one appearing as frail as the hosts’ at present. The Republic of Ireland international could have a big say in the outcome of the match, and his side can also take comfort from the fact they no longer have to face Luis Suarez when they face the red half of Merseyside.
Daniel Sturridge could make his long-awaited return to the Liverpool squad, with a place on the bench most likely. Captain Jordan Henderson may make his first appearance since August 17, while Coutinho and Adam Lallana should be restored to the Premier League starting XI.
Gary Hooper and Youssouf Mulumbu are both injured for Norwich, who have Steven Whitaker back from suspension. Andre Wisdom is unable to face his parent club.
Last Meeting: It was a one-man show last time Norwich ventured to Anfield in December 2013 as Luis Suarez produced a breathtakingly magical performance, scoring four times in a 5-1 victory. Three of the Uruguayan’s strikes were truly special, with the first coming from 40 yards, the third a stunning drilled effort and the fourth a free-kick. After Bradley Johnson replied for the beleaguered away side, Suarez set up Raheem Sterling for the fifth.
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