Norwich City FC
November 04, 2013; 19:45 GMT
The last time the two sides locked horns, Liverpool managed a more than comfortable 5-0 win against Norwich where five different players managed to net the ball for the Reds. Norwich City will look to avenge that embarrassing defeat, while The Reds will look to forget their lackluster outing against Hull City and grab all three points.
The two clubs go into this match with exactly an opposite frame of mind than they would have expected a week back. Liverpool FC suffered a shock 3-1 defeat at the hands of Hull City on Sunday. A dismal performance, probably Liverpool’s worst in this calender year, had fans mocking the seriousness of the top 4 challenge.
Norwich, on the other hand are feeling upbeat about themselves after getting three points off Crystal Palace in a 1-0 win and moving up to the 14th place. The Yellows managed to win the match convincingly in which both the attack and defence were praise-worthy. Chris Hughton’s side looked calm and composed and managed to hurt newly appointed manager Tony Pulis’ Palace.
Norwich City FC- Line-Up, Team News & Tactics
Norwich had a good game against West Ham, where they convincingly won 3-1: Gary Hooper scored a penalty and assisted a goal too. However, they lost their next match against Newcastle United 2-1, Leroy Fer scoring a consolation goal. Hooper managed to score the sole winner against Palace in their most recent game and would look to exploit the Liverpool defence which looked so clueless against Hull City.
Norwich’s problem has been the lack of goals scored; for a team sporting the strike duo of Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Hooper, you would expect that to not be the case.
The Canaries fans are not pleased. The £8.8 million they spent on their new no. 9 has not reaped any benefits. Now on the sidelines with a toe injury, Ricky van Wolfswinkel has done no damage whatsoever for Norwich in the eight games he did play. One goal and one assist to his name, Chris Hughton would have definitely expected more from the man who had been nicknamed “HatRicky” because of the amount of hat-tricks he scored in Netherlands. Gary Hooper, the man who did exceedingly well for Celtic, who should be doing the same for Norwich also has two goals and one assist to his name.
In the duo’s defence, Hooper missed out on the starting five games due to injury and is now getting back into form, and Wolfswinkel has been out of Norwich’s squad in the last 4 games and will be out of action for a while. However, this does not justify the lean number of goals (11) scored by the Norwich players. Their next problem is the leaking defence which has conceded 23 goals. Manchester City scored seven goals against the club. Again, it is understandable considering City have an attack to thrash even a top side like Tottenham 6-0, but it is unacceptable to be leaking goals time and again.
Norwich will look to exploit Liverpool’s stumbling defence, one which after 13 games has still not figured out which its ideal centre back partnership is. The Canaries defenders will be a little less troubled as only Luis Suarez from ‘SAS’ is available for the game, Daniel Sturridge facing a lengthy time on the sidelines after injuring his ankle.
Norwich have absolutely no reason not to try their level best to push for a victory against Liverpool. The Norwich players look confident enough to try and do so as well. Wes Hoolahan, who had a brilliant game against Palace said:
On our day, I believe we can beat anyone in this League, we just need to trust in ourselves. Obviously Liverpool is a difficult place to go and we are going to have to be solid there and hopefully get a point there or even three.
The statement made by the Republic of Ireland player reeks of confidence, and this is exactly the frame of mind you should be in for an away game against a side which has yet not fallen out of the top 4 this season.
Norwich City Probable Starting Line up (4-4-2): Ruddy(GK); Martin, Bennett, Bassong, Olsson; Hoolahan, Howson, Fer, Redmond; Hooper, Elmander
Liverpool FC: Brief Up, Team News & Tactics
Who would have expected the end result of Liverpool’s Sunday game? No pundit could have predicted a 3-1 bashing of the Reds at the hands of Hull City. Football can be unpredictable that way, and the English Premier League is renowned in the world to be one in which anyone can beat anyone.
Liverpool had an absolutely disastrous outing at the KC Stadium where they were one goal down in the 20th minute. A Gerrard beauty from a free kick in the 27th minute restored the game a little bit for the Anfield outfit, but this was not to last. Liverpool continued with the terrible second half syndrome and were put out of their misery of not being able to defend against the Tigers as they conceded a goal in the 72nd minute. A Martin Skrtel own goal in the 87th minute sealed a victory for Steve Bruce’s side and gave Rodgers much to think about. While Victor Moses and Raheem Sterling both had absolutely terrible games, to their benefit, no Red had a good game. The defence looked completely out of sorts and the attack was terribly lackluster.
Liverpool remain without star striker Daniel Sturridge who has been ruled out for about 2 months. The SAS partnership is not going to charm Liverpool fans for a while now and they must become a little accustomed to it. However, now is the time for other Liverpool players to step up their game. It is not certain who Rodgers will bring in his starting line-up. Whether he will want to give Iago Aspas a start, considering the need for Suarez to have a strike partner up-front or if he will play with both Joe Allen and Lucas Leiva in the starting 11; whether he will play Martin Skrtel after his dismal performance in the back, or whether he brings in Daniel Agger to partner Kolo Toure (provided he is fit to play). Whatever the case may be, the Liverpool players must be willing to grab the chance they get to play for their club with both hands and put up a deserving performance. A Hull City repeat cannot be tolerated, especially for a club which wants to be competing in Europe next season.
Liverpool needs to win this game and get all the 3 points. The disaster against the Tigers on Sunday has just made the need for acquiring these three points even more important. In a contest where 3 points separate fourth placed Liverpool with 9th placed Spurs, every match matters and a slip up against Norwich will prove to be very costly.
Liverpool FC Probable Starting Line up (4-3-2-1): Mignolet(GK); Johnson, Agger, Skrtel, Flanagan; Lucas, Gerrard, Allen; Henderson, Coutinho; Suarez
Player to watch out for:
Gary Hooper (Norwich City)
His overall contribution in Norwich’s match against Palace was heartening for City fans. It was certainly a step up on anything they had witnessed before. Hooper’s goal suggested that Norwich finally had a poacher in their grasp and his ability to bring others into play, especially in the first-half, reminded many of the 25 year old’s Celtic days. Hooper certainly looks like he is getting back into form and this would be a game where he would want to trouble Liverpool’s defence with his fast and athletic movement.
- Liverpool have won their last three home matches. Norwich have lost their last three away matches.
- Norwich have the same number of goals in the Premier League as Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge has this season in all competitions-11.
- Norwich’s top scorer(s) in the Premier League have two goals apiece-Leroy Fer, Jonathan Howson and Gary Hooper
- Liverpool have managed to score three goals or more in their last three home matches.
- In terms of away record, Norwich have the worst one after Sunderland, losing 5 out of 6 matches.
Liverpool 3- 1 Norwich
Although the Liverpool team was far from convincing in their previous match, the players would be determined to get a victory in this match and get the much needed three points. Defence remains a problem and the inability of Liverpool to keep a clean sheet will surely show and Norwich will probably get a consolation goal to show for it. Liverpool should manage to win this one.