Carrow Road, Norwich
April 20th, 2014; 12:00 BST
Brendan Rodgers` Liverpool side travel to relegation threatened Norwich City this weekend as they approach the home stretch of their title assault. It is going to be a game of contrasting fortunes with Liverpool fighting for the title and their hosts battling to avoid the drop. Like so many other battles of David versus Goliath, this game promises to be a cracker.
Team news and tactics
Norwich are currently in 17th and flirting with relegation at the moment and are everyone`s favorites to drop down to the championship especially with their final four fixtures. (Liverpool (h), Manchester United (a), Chelsea (a) and Arsenal (h)). Neil Adams` men have a monumental task of upstaging the League`s form team and stopping Luis Suarez who quite frankly has been embarrassing them in the last two seasons. They will hope for the home support to play the role of the ‘12th man’ and act as a beacon to guide the Canaries through the 90 minutes.
After last week`s disappointing loss away at Fulham, where they missed loads of opportunities to score, Neil Adams will be hoping for his side to be more clinical in front of goal. Their main objective will be to stop Liverpool from getting off to a lightning start and the likes of Fer, Johnson and Howson will look to stifle the Liverpool midfield with quick pressing right from the beginning. Sebastian Bassong might be introduced into the starting line-up after missing out against Fulham. The defence will have its task cut out to stop the Reds and Luis Suarez in particular, from scoring. Norwich might line up with the 4-5-1 formation with Elmander or Van Wolfswinkel acting as the focal point. Redmond and Snodgrass will look to provide the service from either flank.
Expected started line-up (4-5-1): Ruddy (GK); Whittaker, Bassong, Turner, Olsson; Johnson, Fer, Howson, Snodgrass, Redmond; Elmander.
After coming out on top in the cliffhanger against Manchester City, Liverpool will look to put the Canaries to sword and get closer to the ‘dream’ of winning the title for the first time in the Premier League era. Brendan Rodgers will once again pin his hopes on Liverpool`s captain fantastic, who has had a fantastic season. Luis Suarez, on the other hand will be licking his lips at the prospect of facing his favorite team in the premiership.
With Henderson suspended and Daniel Sturridge doubtful for this clash, all the onus will be on Coutinho and Gerrard to provide the incisive/ telling pass in the final third. Rodgers might line Liverpool up with the diamond formation, with Lucas slotting in on the right, Allen on the left, Coutinho at the tip of the diamond and Gerrard pulling the strings from his ‘quarter-back’ role. The electric Raheem Sterling is certain to partner Suarez upfront, in the absence of Sturridge and the duo will look to get in behind the Canaries` defence.
The Reds look favorites to come out winners in this clash but stranger things have happened in football. They will try to get off to a good start once again and try to score in the first 15 minutes to ease any pressure and nerves. The Liverpool defence will look to maintain its concentration throughout the 90 minutes in this crucial game after a nervy ending against Manchester City.
Expected starting line-up (4-4-2): Mignolet (GK); Johnson, Skrtel, Sakho, Flanagan; Gerrard, Lucas, Allen, Coutinho; Sterling, Suarez.
- Liverpool have scored 2+ goals in their last 10 PL games. Only two sides (Man City & Spurs) have gone on longer runs in PL history.
- Luis Suarez tops the chart in goals and assists with 29 goals and 12 assists to his name.
- Steven Gerrard has provided the most assists from dead ball situations this season in the Premier League (8).
- The Canaries have only managed 26 goals this season, 3 fewer than Luis Suarez.
Player to watch out for
Luis Suarez (Liverpool)
Luis Suarez has taken a special liking to the Canaries in recent times; he has scored 11 goals in five appearances against them which include three hat-tricks. The Uruguayan will look to get on the score sheet after missing out against West Ham and Manchester City. At Carrow Road alone, Suarez has scored six goals in the division – more than any other visiting player, averaging a goal every 29 minutes. With Sturridge almost certain to miss out, it will be up to Suarez to deliver the goods. The Uruguayan will look to consolidate Liverpool`s position at the top and will be itching to go against a shaky Norwich defence.
Norwich 1 -3 Liverpool
A shaky defence against a free flowing team who are top scorers in the league. Liverpool are favorites to win this fixture, and if they do so it will only heap more misery on the Canaries. With Luis Suarez facing his favorite team, it is tough to see anything other than a win for Liverpool. Norwich might get on the score sheet but it is tough to see them get the full quota of points against a Liverpool side which is unbeaten in 2014.