March 11 2014 Latest news:
Paddy Davitt, Norwich City Writer
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Luis Suarez appears to have a personal vendetta against Norwich City after inflicting fresh misery on the Canaries at Anfield on Wednesday night.
The Uruguayan has now plundered 11 goals in five Premier League games against City on an evening when the records tumbled and the legend continued to grow in front of his adoring public.
Suarez’s first strike was individual brilliance personified as he smashed a bouncing ball fully 35 yards out straight over the stranded John Ruddy into the roof of the net. Ruddy’s facial expression in the immediate aftermath said it all as he sat hunched on the turf in the midst of the bedlam that engulfed Suarez below the Kop; a mixture of bemusement and incredulity. The forward’s second owed everything to fresh calamitous defending from the Canaries from a corner with Steven Gerrard allowed to escape unattended in a diversionary near post tactic that allowed Suarez to hook home from seven yards. His hat-trick goal was pure genius, a lift over Leroy Fer’s head before a thunderous volley from the edge of the area that flew past Ruddy yet again before a 25-yard free kick encore in the second half completed his haul.
Suarez even turned provider to allow Raheem Sterling briefly into his spotlight with a cut-back despatched by the youngster two minutes from the end. It was pure fantasy football with Norwich sacrificial lambs on the road once more in the Premier League and just the barest of consolations courtesy of Bradley Johnson’s late glancing header. City simply were blown away by Suarez’s opening blitz prior to the interval, with the sight of Palace match-winner Gary Hooper on the bench in place of Johnson underlining Norwich’s contrasting approach.
Hughton sprung something of a surprise with Fer deployed in a deeper-lying midfield role behind a central midfield two of Johnson and Jonny Howson, who produced the first strike inside the opening minutes with a swinging shot that failed to trouble Simon Mignolet. Philipe Coutinho provided chief support to Suarez with Gerrard in his now customary playmaker berth.
Sebastien Bassong bailed out Nathan Redmond when the youngster attempted a rash square pass on the edge of his own area by producing a perfectly-timed diving block to thwart Coutinho following a dangerous burst from the Brazilian. The Reds were equally guilty of early hesitancy with Howson allowed to drift unattended to the back post, but Wes Hoolahan was swiftly close down by Daniel Agger. Redmond continued to struggle to find a man in black and white although Hoolahan looked comfortable in such auspicious surroundings with a pirouette taking him away from Joe Allen only for Mignolet to gather his low left-footed strike from 25 yards. Gerrard underlined his class with a diagonal pass teased into the feet of Jordan Henderson but Redmond denied the midfielder with the home crowd growing increasingly restless at the lack of precision from Brendan Rodgers’ side.
Suarez had largely been contained in the opening skirmishes until he pounced on Hoolahan’s misplaced pass to drive at Ryan Bennett but the centre-back stood his ground. Hughton’s first foray to the edge of his technical area hinted at a growing concern with City now increasingly pinned on the edge of their own penalty area but the breakthrough owed everything to Suarez’s sublime talent as he let an aimless ball bounce twice inside the Norwich half before unleashing a volley that flew over the stranded Ruddy. Bradley Johnson was forced to take evasive action with a crude trip to fell Suarez as the visitors strived to clear their collective heads, but Liverpool’s urgent pressing was a marked feature of the Reds’ territorial control. Johan Elmander increasingly cut an isolated figure as City’s sporadic attempts to support the Swede were hindered by their inability to lift the developing siege although his willingness to drop deep did fashion a chance for Hoolahan in the 25th minute, but the Irishman squirted the cross wide at the far post.
Norwich’s prospects of salvaging anything remotely positively from their latest torturous episode on Merseyside receded further when Suarez rifled his second after Gerrard roamed unchecked towards the near post to glance a Coutinho corner. Bassong and Bennett wasted little time in opening the inquest with an angry exchange between the central defensive pair after a concession which bore all the hallmarks of Norwich’s early gift in the recent 2-1 away league defeat at Newcastle. Bradley Johnson hammered a speculative effort wide before Redmond did force Mignolet into a routine stop after Allen was cautioned for hauling down City’s Johnson. But predictably it was Suarez who had the final word in an interval when he underlined his reputation as one of the best in the business after lifting calmly over Fer before guiding a volley past Ruddy from 18 yards.
Bassong headed Redmond’s free kick over on the restart with Hughton opting to keep the same starting line up on the pitch. Coutinho’s cheeky attempt at the other end to whip a ball under Norwich’s wall after Fer was penalised failed to trouble Ruddy. Bennett then clubbed Gerrard’s diving header off his line with Ruddy beaten as Liverpool threatened to cut loose.
Bassong was bailed out by Bennett after a forlorn effort to dribble past Gerrard then Ruddy acrobatically tipped over Allen’s long range short arrowing towards his top corner with Norwich creaking again. Hoolahan earned the visitors temporary respite with a counter that saw Redmond drag a right-foot shot into the side netting before Hoolahan made way for Josh Murphy just past the hour mark.
Normal service was swiftly resumed when Suarez brushed off the attentions of Martin Olsson but Ruddy foiled the Uruguayan at his near post. Hooper joined Murphy for the final quarter with the tiring Elmander making way. City were unquestionably enjoying more possession in opposition territory but Suarez capped his memorable night in the 75th minute with a dipping free kick lashed up and over the Norwich wall and beyond the sprawling Ruddy after Bradley Johnson was adjudged to have shoved Gerrard.
City’s Johnson earned some reward for a battling outing in midfield when he glanced home Redmond’s inviting cross eight yards out. Gerrard then clipped a post with a clever flick before Sterling completed the rout in the 88th minute rifling home Suarez’s cut-back before the fearsome striker left the field to a standing ovation for Iago Aspas.
• Liverpool: Mignolet, Johnson, Agger, Skrtel, Flanagan, Henderson (Alberto 69), Allen, Coutinho, Gerrard, Sterling, Suarez (Aspas 90). Subs (not used): Jones, Toure, Moses, Sakho, Lucas.
• Bookings: Allen (foul on Johnson, 34); Gerrard (foul on Redmond, 43); Flanagan (foul on Murphy, 69)
• Goals: Suarez (16, 29, 35, 75), Sterling (88)
• Norwich: Ruddy, Martin, Bassong, Bennett, Olsson, Johnson, Fer (Whittaker 72), Howson, Hoolahan (Murphy 62), Redmond, Elmander (Hooper 69). Subs (not used): Nash, Turner, Garrido, Becchio.
• Booking: Johnson (foul on Suarez, 21).
• Goal: Johnson (83)
• Added on time: 2 minutes / 2 minutes
• Referee: Anthony Taylor (Manchester)
• Attendance: 44,541