Lambert - Ruddy ready to join the international set
Paul Lambert insists John Ruddy is maturing into one of England's best keepers after another excellent display capped by what his manager labelled a 'world class' save secured a priceless Premier League point.
Ruddy acrobatically tipped Luis Suarez's powerful volley over deep in added on time to deny the Uruguayan menace for the final time in a stirring finish to the televised contest.
Grant Holt's 55th Norwich goal on the hour mark in his century-making appearance for the Canaries had cancelled out Craig Bellamy's first-half strike after City's defence was finally breached at the climax to a fearsome first half.
Ruddy's late save eclipsed another reaction stop from Suarez inside the opening quarter of an hour at Anfield when he pushed the frontman's goalbound shot up against his post from Bellamy's initial cut-back.
Lambert believes the former Evertonian – who turns 25 today – is another of Norwich's squad rightly worth a serious mention in international despatches. The Scot has no doubts Ruddy is playing consistently well enough to be considered for England manager Fabio Capello's Three Lions.
'I said to John after the game when you play at a really high level, big players will produce big moments and big performances,' he said. 'That is the nature of the game. That save I thought was world class and I hear all the rumours that England might be looking at him. Listen, England could do a lot worse than look at him. That is for sure. We're not just a hard-working side, we have some top players who are creating a name for themselves.'
Lambert revealed 'belief' was the phrase of choice at half-time following Bellamy's strike.
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'It was not ranting or raving, just a belief that Ian (Culverhouse) and myself said to the lads to believe that they could get something and don't have any regrets, basically,' he said. 'That showed in the second half performance I think. They picked their game up by the scruff of the neck and went at Liverpool and I think we were well worthy of a point.
'You're not going to come here and sit and think you are going to play pretty football and not be under the cosh. That Kop just sucks the ball in. I know what they are like, but credit to the players, they stuck at it and stuck at it and there are times when you don't have the ball for long periods and you are clearing the ball off the line and it's a backs-to-the-wall performance, but you have to be able to do that when you come to places like this and Stamford Bridge and Old Trafford, but we did it. Okay, disappointed to lose a goal at the death, but they re-grouped second half and we played the way we had been for a number of weeks.'
Lambert ranked City's latest Premier League point alongside their very best this campaign.
'That is a massive, massive point,' he said. 'To come to Anfield, no-one gave us an earthly coming here, but I think the way we are playing and what we have created at Norwich is excellent. It's probably the biggest result we have had all season. Funnily enough, going to Stamford Bridge and playing the way we did, we lost the game and the same at Old Trafford, but both gave them the belief they can go and compete with teams.
'That is all I ask, if you can compete with somebody then you'll be fine. I thought in the first half we were a bit frightened by it. We never really got going and Liverpool put us under immense pressure, The way the lads defended and what they did to weather the storm was great.
'Yeah, we conceded right at the death, but the way they came out second half was much more how we have played. We came at them and second half I thought we were excellent.'