Defensive Disaster Show As Suarez Sinks City…
LIVERPOOL deservedly came away from Carrow Road with 3 points this evening, after another lacklustre Norwich performance. Luis Suarez grabbed a hattrick, with Norwich now conceding 11 goals in their last 3 games – scoring just once.
TEAM NEWS – Lambert tinkered with his team as he’s often done this season, out went Russell Martin, Andrew Surman, Wes Hoolahan, James Vaughan and Grant Holt. Into the side came Kyle Naughton, David Fox, Anthony Pilkington, Bradley Johnson and Steve Morison. That meant John Ruddy was in goal, behind a back four of Naughton, captain Elliott Ward, Ryan Bennett and Adam Drury. In midfield the Canaries had 5, with Johnson, Jonny Howson, Fox, Pilkington and Elliott Bennett. Steve Morison was handed the lone frontman role.
FIRST-HALF – The opening to the game was rather stop-start, with first David Fox down for treatment before Adam Drury followed him. Unfortunately for Norwich, Drury’s injury deemed him unable to continue and he was replaced by Russell Martin. Norwich had some nearly moments in attack, though Reina hadn’t had to make a save thus far. Despite some decent early pressure, Norwich were architects of their downfall as Suarez put the visitors one up. Fox dithered in possession and was bullied off the ball by Gerrard, he slipped it through for Suarez. He controlled, took a few touches before burying his shot in the far corner past Ruddy. Elliott Ward then gifted the visitors a chance as he was caught in possession, Suarez surged forwards found Gerrard – whose thumping effort was well blocked by Ryan Bennett. Ward didn’t really learn his lesson and was made to pay a few minutes later. He was played a hospital ball by Naughton, though should have done better in his challenge against Suarez. The Uruguayan easily beat him, advanced before thumping a low effort past Ruddy into the far corner of the goal. It was all that had really happened in a pretty dire first-half, with Norwich woefully off par and Liverpool seemingly in full control.
SECOND-HALF – James Vaughan entered the fray for the second period, replacing Fox. The Canaries had clearly been fed the proverbial rocket at half-time, forcing two early corners before Elliott Bennett warmed Reina’s gloves with a rasping drive from distance. From the resulting corner, Bradley Johnson glanced a header wide. It could have easily been 3-0 as Liverpool broke, Norwich made a mess of things before Shelvey headed against the crossbar prior to the Canaries hacking the ball to safety. Shelvey certainly should have had a third for his side minutes later, inexplicably skewing an Enrique cross into the air when finding himself confronted by an open goal, while also being barely 6 yards out. The Canaries were brighter to their credit, with Morison seeing his deflected effort fly wide before Bennett again had a go from distance though could not find the target. Norwich were living dangerously, desperation to get back into the game was leaving them short at the back, with Downing finding himself in space in the area. He whipped in a low effort which Ruddy did well to turn wide of the post, a decent stop.
Suarez nearly had his treble as he made Bennett and Ward both look like school boys, before rather stupidly chipping the ball over the bar with just Ruddy to beat. Liverpool again came close just past the hour, with Daniel Agger’s header being thumped off the line by Jonny Howson. Vaughan had been a lively addition to Norwich’s ranks, turning well before zipping a low effort wide. He was working hard, doing well to latch onto a Russell Martin cross though could only plant his header wide. Lambert played his final card with 15 odd minutes to go as Holt replaced Morison. The Canaries were having a flurry of efforts, with Bradley Johnson firing comfortably over from distance. Vaughan was the next to go close, absolutely thumping a volley at goal from a cross though Carragher did well to block. Had he not, 2-1 may have been on the cards.
As it happened, Norwich were about to be killed off completely as Liverpool scored their third. Elliott Ward looked to control a long ball out of the Liverpool defence, he completely missed it, it skewed off him and fell to Suarez. He looked up, saw Ruddy off his line and had a pop with an audacious lob. He got it spot on and from a full 55 yards he found the back of the net as Ruddy desperately tried to get back. A Liverpool fan then decided it was a bright idea to come on the pitch and get involved in celebrations, then offering the Barclay some, let’s say ‘colourful’ gestures before finally being captured by police. Another disappointing day was brought to an end, with City left to lick their wounds.
MAN OF THE MATCH, JAMES VAUGHAN – Livened things up for us up top, gave us a bit more of a spark and worked his socks off. Well played.
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