Liverpool continued their march towards the Premier League title with a 3-2 away victory over Norwich City.
The Reds were able to open up a five-point lead at the top of the Premier League after the hard fought win at Carrow Road. Liverpool needed to capitalize on the slip ups by their fellow title contenders as second-placed Chelsea had lost on Saturday and third place City drew to Sunderland midweek. Liverpool did not disappoint and took away the important three points in a well contested match.
Raheem Sterling gave his side the lead with a brilliant strike from outside the box in the fourth minute. The 19 year old then set up Luis Suarez for his 30th goal of the league campaign just seven minutes later.
Norwich made it 2-1 in the early minutes of the second half as Gary Hooper found the target after Mignolet’s error. Sterling was able to pull an important goal back in as his deflected effort just past the hour mark made the scoreline 3-1. However, the hosts managed to score a good goal when Robert Snodgrass headed the ball in the back of the net in the 77 minutes.
It was then a nervy finish to the match as both Liverpool and Norwich came close to scoring.
Here are three things we learnt from the match:
Champions League nights at Anfield are back
Brendan Rodgers has always maintained (actually to date), that Liverpool’s prime focus of this season was to make sure they get Champions League next season. Liverpool are now sure of being in the elite competition next season (irrespective of whatever the next three matches hold).
A lot of teams slip up from where they held major presence. Take Portsmouth for example. The South coast club participated in the 2008–09 UEFA Cup and presently finds itself in League two. While this was a more drastic dip, Liverpool’s decline also has been this disappointing. The Reds are back in the European competition after the 2009-10 season. Their absence has been for more than anticipated and the long awaited Anfield Champions League nights are finally their for the Kop faithful
Raheem Sterling is surely headed to Brazil
The 19 year old had a fantastic outing for his side and was the architect of the victory. Sterling showed great technique, looked fantastic on the ball and an eye for a goal. He scored two and assisted one. Brendan Rodgers heaped praise on the youngster after the match calling him the ‘best young player in Europe.
He is the best young player in European football at the moment,” Rodgers said
“At 19 years of age you don’t see anyone better. His intelligence with the ball, his movement and he’s scoring goals. His first goal was a wonderful strike. He’s just shifted it, got his shot off; to beat a goalkeeper of John Ruddy’s quality shows you the quality of the strike.
“His pass for Luis’ goal was like a top midfield player, so there’s an assist, and his position for the counter attack when he broke away and obviously gets a bit of luck on the deflection but his overall performance he’s shown so much maturity.”
Sterling has been in great form since Liverpool’s first match against Norwich back in 2013, where he also managed to get on the scoresheet. However, his shooting has often been brought into questioning. But with three goals in two matches- and two great ones, Sterling is turning out to be the absolute package. He can score, he can create and possesses an absolutely lightening pace. The fact that he can play as a winger, in the number 10 position or as a secondary striker only gives him extra versatility and Hodgson all the more reasons to pick him for the England squad.
‘Listen, this is gone. We go to Norwich, exactly the same’- And Liverpool did
Steven Gerrard was an emotional figure after the Manchester City game. The Liverpool captain was almost in tears after the final whistle sounded on an enthralling spectacle at Anfield last weekend. To prevent the team from getting carried away after the important win, Gerrard called Liverpool in a huddle and said ‘This does not f******slip now. Listen, this does not f****** slip. Listen, this is gone. We go to Norwich, exactly the same’
Liverpool made sure they did exactly that and took Norwich as seriously as the City game. The Premier League title is now just a breathing distance away and the Reds would hope they make it 12 games in a row and do ‘exactly the same’ against Chelsea next week. Beating Chelsea would be an even bigger task as Jose Mourinho’s team boasts of having the tightest defence in the league and Liverpool’s wins are basically dependent on their free-flowing attack.
While a draw against the Blues would still keep them in comfortable steps to the title, Brendan Rodgers will want his Red Crusade to still win the match and make sure they win that title, which is now certainly Liverpool’s to lose, with ease.