Norwich City travelled to Anfield on Saturday with hopes of pulling off an incredible result. Instead, they received a mauling from a rampant Liverpool side.
Nor did the 5-0 scoreline flatter the Reds. They were five goals better. In six Premier League visits to the famous ground, the Canaries have shipped 17 goals and collected just four points out of a possible 18.
Of a more pressing concern for manager Chris Hughton will be a worrying run of form that has now seen his side pick up just one point in 18, and slip into the old habits that were prominent at the start of the 2012/13 campaign.
Four changes were made to the team from the one that started the dire draw with Newcastle a week earlier. One of those coming back into the side was Grant Holt. The Norwich target man had recovered fully from a hamstring injury.
He barely featured in proceedings all afternoon and Hughton must invest in some help for Holt in attack. A bid for Celtic’s goal ace Gary Hooper was rejected last week, and Bhoys manager Neil Lennon has already hinted that he is prepared for a second offer from the Premier League side.
In fact, the visitors made a bright start and Sebastien Bassong’s replacement, Ryan Bennett, had an early chance, but his header ended straight in the arms of Australian Brad Jones. If the former Peterborough United defender had placed his attempt either side, the Canaries could have had the lead.
After a bright quarter of an hour, their impact on the game was non-existent going forward, and defensively it was complete chaos. Luis Suarez simply dazzled the confused backline with some exceptional skill, and the Uruguayan played a huge part in the first goal. This came after 25 minutes.
Jordan Henderson broke the deadlock with a sweet finish, leaving Mark Bunn without any chance of stopping his shot. Once Norwich’s resistance was broken, they wilted badly, much like they did at Fulham on the opening weekend of the season.
Suarez escaped the defenders to produce the predictable outcome against the Canaries. It was his 20th goal of the season, and a seventh strike in just four starts against the East Anglian side.
The second-half was more of the same. New Anfield arrival Daniel Sturridge put the game beyond any doubt when he converted Stewart Downing’s cross on the hour mark. Steven Gerrard joined in on the act with a precise finish from long range as Norwich did not close him down quickly enough.
An own goal from the unfortunate Bennett completed a miserable afternoon, when he knocked in Raheem Sterling’s pass on the stretch.
With just 24 goals all season, Norwich’s problems are summed up, but the defending was totally inadequate. They were poor throughout, and next week’s FA Cup fourth round local derby against non-league Luton Town has become very important now.
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