Gary Hooper cannot wait to take to Anfield stage when Norwich City face Liverpool

Gary Hooper and Damien Delaney duel during Saturday's Carrow Road clash. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Gary Hooper and Damien Delaney duel during Saturday's Carrow Road clash. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Tuesday, December 3, 2013
4:02 PM

Visits to Anfield may not carry quite the same novelty as they did three years ago – but don’t underestimate their sway.

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After all, tonight’s trip north is one of the reasons why Gary Hooper ignored the lure of Scottish silverware and a few nights in the glorious glow of Champions League football, to recommence his career in England with Norwich City.

“It’s a massive game, Liverpool away, at one of the stadiums I’ve always want to play at,” said Hooper. “It’s going to be a tough game. They were on form (before Sunday) and we’ve won at the weekend. So we’ve got to take that into Wednesday.

“It’ll be my first time there. Never been there, never played there.”

All being well, that will change tonight. And if City can use the 25-year-old to his maximum, they may well be on to a winner.

That’s been the theme so far this season – Gary Hooper scores, Norwich City end up victorious.

The League Cup comeback at Watford, plus Premier League home wins over West Ham and Saturday against Crystal Palace: it’s a list that has done its fair share to lift some of the pressure on Norwich boss Chris Hughton. It also represents a decent early return of four goals in 10 appearances – or six starts – since his £5.5m move from Celtic.

The winning streak isn’t lost on Hooper either.

“It’s a good stat, yes, if you look into it that way,” he said. “It’s just the home games in the Premier League though. I think we play very well at Carrow Road. We get results there and as I’ve said time and time again, you don’t get many chances. Even me watching it on telly last year and playing in it now, you just don’t get many chances. When you do you’ve got to take them.

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“That’s still the biggest surprise – I thought you’d get more chances. But that’s the Premier League for you.

“It’s a quick-tempo game and I’m nearly getting there. There are a lot of athletes and it’s physical.

“At Celtic I’d get a good four or five chances in a game. In England it’s one or two, and you’ve got to take one when it comes.”

But Hooper wouldn’t have it any other way. Week in, week out the striker is getting what he wanted – a regular top-class challenge.

“It’s the regular football – the Premier League is the best league in the world. Champions League is nice but it’s not every week is it. The Premier League, and then playing at Old Trafford a few weeks ago. We’re going to Anfield on Wednesday. It doesn’t get better than that.”

But while the venues are appealing, everyone at Carrow Road is aware City’s current away form cannot continue. The last four away games in all competitions read as lost four, scored two, conceded 17.

Hooper is keen to play his own part in that – as well as continuing his own improvement as he adjusts to the English top flight.

“I’m getting used to it,” said Hooper. “I’m still learning things and it’s hard to get used to the league, the pace of the game.

“I’ve got to be patient, not get wound up and just try to link the play. You’ve got to work hard. It’s non-stop, the pace is so quick.”

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7 comments

  • Hoola-Hoop combination again please!

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    GossVolley

    Tuesday, December 3, 2013

  • A result at Liverpool would turn the season around - love to see us go up there and cause them havoc. Need to be at the top of our game from the outset - no sitting back in defence and giving them respect - get stuck into them and make their lives miserable for 90+ minutes. OTBC !!

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    Dubai Canary

    Tuesday, December 3, 2013

  • Wish the enthusiam Hooper is expressing could be more present across the whole team. He's not afraid of playing at Anfield - that's what is needed, some fearlessness...

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    Surrey Canary

    Wednesday, December 4, 2013

  • Super dooper Gary hooper is getting better every game!

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    ncfc boy

    Tuesday, December 3, 2013

  • We can't underestimate Liverpool, they're a great team. But we can be too if we just knuckle down and battle like we used to. After all, it was a battling spirit that got us to the dance in the first place.

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    Powers1902

    Tuesday, December 3, 2013

  • Oh Gary, careful what you wish for , but if you can pull the Liverpool defence around, then who knows

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    wivenhoebudgie

    Wednesday, December 4, 2013

  • Fully agree Powers1902, if you look at how we performed against the likes of Man U and Gunners when we get a result it was by not letting them play their game. There was comment in local paper here how Man City struggle away from home due to teams being their face, whilst at Eithad they get too much respect, we know that one! It would be good see City come out the blocks running and being in Liverpools face. We have nothing to lose and if the game goes 0-0 for any period the Anfield faithful may become a monkey on Liverpool's back. We can only hope. OTBC

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    Jakarta Canary

    Wednesday, December 4, 2013

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