Liverpool Club Focus – Wasteful Reds fail to finish off Norwich

Crafty Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez failed to convert any of his 11 chances as Liverpool only managed a disappointing 1-1 draw against newly-promoted Norwich at Anfield on Saturday. The former Ajax striker, who was recently accused of making racist remarks at Patrice Evra, displayed bundles of energy and some superb skill throughout the game against Paul Lambert’s spirited side, but was unable to find the net.

However, Suarez was not the only player at fault for wastefulness in front of goal. The Reds had a staggering 29 opportunities during the game, but only one of these was converted, by Craig Bellamy. The likes of Dirk Kuyt and Stewart Downing were also unable to make the most of their half-chances and manager Kenny Dalglish will be quite disappointed that his side have won just two of their five home games in the league so far this term.

In the past few seasons, the Merseysiders have been accused of not ‘finishing off’ the smaller teams and this was once again the case against Norwich. More often than not, Liverpool are prepared for the tougher games against the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal, yet find fixtures against the lower teams more difficult. The Reds will need to start winning more games against these sides if they are to end the season in the top-four.

Speaking after the match, Dalglish said: “I think on the balance of the game we deserved to take three points from it. We played really well up to a point, created an awful lot of chances and there was some great passing and moving. But when you are only one goal in front it gives them a bit of encouragement. They were hanging on in there. If we don’t convert our chances we’re always going to give the opposition a chance. They took it.”

The Scot will now be hoping for a positive reaction when the Reds face Stoke City in the Carling Cup on Wednesday. Liverpool tasted their first defeat of the season when they were beaten 1-0 by Tony Pulis’ battling side in September – a game which was yet another example of where the five-time European Cup winners failed to convert their numerous chances. This fourth-round tie will give Dalglish’s side an opportunity to get revenge over Stoke and put their name into the hat for the next round.

The Reds’ boss has selected some strong teams in the previous rounds of the competition; while also giving some fringe players a chance to shine. In the last round against Brighton and Hove Albion, Dalglish handed the likes of Sebastian Coates, Jack Robinson, Maxi Rodriguez and Jay Spearing starts. It will be quite interesting to see whether the Scot decides to select a mixture of youth and experience or opts for a full-strength team for what will be a tougher game against Stoke.

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