Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers hails Luis Suarez masterclass against Norwich City
Brendan Rodgers insisted Liverpool's emphatic Premier League win was all the sweeter given his recent personal history at Carrow Road.
The former Swansea chief lost on both his previous visits to Norwich – which made the scale of his first league win as Reds' boss even more impressive.
'I know Norwich and it is a wonderful club and particularly in the last two years it has been a real difficult place to come and get a result so to arrive here, score five goals and play as well as we did is a real great performance,' he said.
'They are a real good set of lads here who work ever so hard. Norwich are a very good group and I know that as well as anyone coming here for the last few years. For us to play as well as we did and dominate the ball was outstanding.
'I'm obviously content but not surprised. Our performance level up until today has been very good, apart from at home to Arsenal and when we went down to ten men against West Brom. It is our conversion rate that has not been very good.'
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A statistic Luis Surarez did more than most to rectify with another scintillating pummelling of the Canaries' backline. The much-maligned Uruguayan has now struck an improbable six goals on his two Carrow Road visits.
'I've got to say, this was another masterclass in finishing,' said Rodgers. 'His first goal was terrific. We built it from behind and played through the lines. There was a nice combination on the edge of the box and he finished it well. His second one typifies him because 10 seconds earlier he missed probably his easiest chance. It shows his mentality.
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'He doesn't get disappointed and immediately he gets back onto the ball and with an incredible piece of skill, he nutmegs the defender and finishes with the outside of his foot. It was a special day for him – and more importantly, a special day for the team. I thought the performance and how we got between the lines, and played and passed, and had relentless possession was pleasing. He is an incredible finisher.'
Rodgers was adamant Suarez was also the aggrieved party after tumbling inside the Norwich penalty box in the first half under Leon Barnett's close attentions.
'It was a stonewall penalty. I feel for the guy. I think everybody in the ground knew it was a penalty,' he said. 'If you look at Antonio Valencia last week he got a penalty against us for barely contact and the guy Barnett sort of elbowed him in the head and then gave him a wee nudge just to make sure, but he still didn't get it.
'If he is a player who goes down, he would have gone down in the second half because he had a great piece of skill and the defender has caught him but he stayed on his feet and played the ball.
'Is he paying the price for his reputation? For sure. Listen, I know how hard a job the referees have and you are not one for hearing me many times, if any, killing officials. I understand they have a hard job and I want my players to respect them as much as they do me.
'Hopefully, maybe one day we will get the decision but until then we will concentrate on our performance.'
Norwich's two second-half goals were a source of irritation to Rodgers, and the Northern Irishman was quick to dampen down rising expectations after opening his Premier League account in style.
'We are disappointed with the two goals, or certainly I am, with one eye on the future as much anything else,' he said. 'That will be the only negative of the thing. We made mistakes for both goals when we were in control of the temperature of the game. But I'd rather concentrate on the performance and the result.
'The top four is something we're building towards but we understand the difficulty of that. There is a whole host of teams that have invested heavily to arrive in those positions.
'For us as a club, because of the status of our club, we should be there, but it is going to take a bit of time. The most important thing this year was to become competitive, to define our style and to look to get positive results.'