Jordan Henderson, Mohamed Salah and Luis Diaz were impressive as Liverpool came from a goal down to beat Norwich City 3-1 on Saturday.
Norwich City came flying out of the blocks against a much-changed Liverpool side. But the Reds soon found their feet and dominated the proceedings for the remainder of the first half. However, the breakthrough never came as Norwich somehow stood firm despite facing 15 shots in the opening period.
The Canaries had one clear-cut opportunity of their own in the first half, but needed a stroke of good fortune to grab a shock lead. Milot Rashica broke the deadlock just two minutes after the interval as his shot from the edge of the box took a heavy deflection off Joel Matip, outfoxing Alisson Becker in the process.
That is as good as it got for Norwich, as Liverpool set about getting back into the contest. The hosts duly got back on level terms through Sadio Mane, who scored from a spectacular bicycle kick to make it 1-1. Three minutes later, Mohamed Salah scored from the edge of the Norwich box after collecting a clearance from Alisson.
Liverpool did not slip up after that and rounded the win off in the 81st minute through Luis Diaz, who scored for the first time for the Merseyside giants. The result has helped Liverpool close down the gap to Manchester City to six points ahead of the Citizens’ clash with Tottenham Hotspur. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Norwich players could only stand and watch that Sadio Mané finish ✂️ pic.twitter.com/4SObro3Ykk
— B/R Football (@brfootball) February 19, 2022
Alisson Becker: 6/10
Alisson Becker was barely called into action by Norwich and could not have done anything to keep out Milot Rashica’s deflected effort. But the Brazilian goalkeeper did well to calm things down when Norwich threatened to score on the counter.
Joe Gomez: 6/10
Gomez made his first Premier League start of the season, and the rustiness in his game was evident. The Englishman failed to mark Rashica in the build-up to the Norwich goal, but he was solid otherwise. Gomez did not carry as much threat as Trent Alexander-Arnold, but improved his output as the minutes wore on, linking up well with Mohamed Salah.
Joel Matip: 6/10
Matip replaced Ibrahima Konate as Virgil van Dijk’s central defensive partner and had a busy outing against Norwich City. He was desperately unfortunate to see Rashica’s strike deflect off him for the opener. But that was a mere blip as he was solid in his defensive duties and built up play smartly from the back.
Virgil van Dijk: 7/10
Coming off a colossal performance against Inter Milan, van Dijk continued from where he left off in Italy. The Dutchman held the fort well at the heart of the Liverpool defence, although he was not called into action much. Liverpool’s defensive leader won each of his five contested duels and even created one chance. It was a job well done.
Kostas Tsimikas: 7/10
📊 | Tsimikas vs Norwich City:
1 blocked shot
4 tackles won
8 duels won
2 chances created
Controlled the left-hand side with ease. Genuinely would start for almost every team in the world. Offensively and defensively outstanding today. pic.twitter.com/GqRXBorsB3
— The Anfield Buzz (@TheAnfieldBuzz) February 19, 2022
Klopp rested several of his key players, and Tsimikas was one of the players to benefit from the rotation. The Greek defender made his mark for the yet again, engineering chances for fun while being a constant outlet down the left flank. He should have also scored a goal in the first half but will have to make do with the assist for Sadio Mane’s goal.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: 5/10
Handed a rare start, Oxlade-Chamberlain endured a game to forget on Saturday. The Englishman was wasteful with some of his touches while his set-piece deliveries left a lot to be desired. He is running out of time at Liverpool.
Jordan Henderson: 8/10
With Fabinho rested, Henderson sat at the base of the Liverpool midfield and controlled the proceedings smartly. The Liverpool captain pulled the strings well, with his trademark first-time passes on full show. The English international incredibly misplaced only three of his 107 attempted passes, while providing the assist for Luis Diaz’s maiden Liverpool goal.
Naby Keita: 6/10
Back in the starting lineup, Keita endured a game of hits and misses. The Guinean international did play two key passes, but often lost the ball carelessly, losing possession 14 times. So it was hardly surprising that he was taken off for Divock Origi as Klopp sought a way back into the game.
Mohamed Salah: 8/10
150 – @MoSalah is the 10th player to score 150 goals in all competitions for @LFC, and the second-quickest to reach this total for the club (233 apps) after Roger Hunt (226 apps). Statue. pic.twitter.com/nFo0ZRcAAm
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 19, 2022
Salah looked like a man on a mission from the get-go and set up a superb chance for Tsimikas in the first half. The Egyptian wing-wizard also came close to scoring twice before finally finding the back of the net midway through the second half. On another day, Salah could have celebrated a hat-trick of goals and assists, having also played a game-high six key passes. But he will be happy with his 150th strike for Liverpool.
Sadio Mane: 7/10
With Roberto Firmino out injured, Mane spearheaded the Liverpool attack, but he roamed all across the final third. The Senegalese international linked up play superbly but did not always get into dangerous scoring positions. He got Liverpool back into the game with a brilliant bicycle goal from Tsimikas’s floated pass.
Luis Diaz: 7/10
Diaz has hit the ground running since joining Liverpool from FC Porto, and he looked keen to make a meaningful impact on Saturday. But the Colombian attacker tailed off after a strong start to the game. And it was only in the second half that he got into his stride again, rounding off the win by linking up beautifully with Henderson and scoring his maiden Liverpool goal.
34 – Luis Díaz's goal for Liverpool today was scored following a sequence of 34 uninterrupted passes, the most for any Premier League goal this season and the most by any Liverpool goal since Opta have this data available in the competition (from 2006-07). Crafted. pic.twitter.com/JVfUnvkph9
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 19, 2022
Thiago Alcantara: 7/10
On for Oxlade-Chamberlain, Alcantara single-handedly turned the tide in Liverpool’s favour, carving out openings while building up play at a quicker tempo. The Spaniard created a couple of chances, while misplacing just three of his 49 attempted passes. He has finally found his groove as a Liverpool player.
Divock Origi: 6/10
Introduced in place of Keita, Origi did not see much of the ball in the game’s final quarter, managing just nine touches.
Takumi Minamino: N/A
A late introduction, Minamino barely had any time on the pitch to influence the proceedings.