Liverpool travel to Norwich in search of their first Premier League win under Brendan Rodgers, while the Canaries seek the same under Chris Hughton. The sides last met in April, when a Luis Suarez hat trick sealed the three points for the Merseyside team.
Both clubs have had their share of bad luck this year, playing well in games just to end up losing them. The reason for their current positions has been the failure to convert good chances into goals, making this fixture a prime candidate for a draw.
However, as the season progresses, the need for a win becomes more and more important. Norwich need to distance themselves from the relegation zone and Liverpool need to show they can thrive under Rodgers.
A draw would suit neither team, so look for them both to start quickly and try to control the game.
Where: Carrow Road, Norwich, England
When: Saturday, September 29, 10 a.m. EST
TV/Live Stream: Fox Soccer Plus
Norwich City: Home Advantage is Integral to Success
Norwich have drawn three games this season, but have only scored two goals. They have only conceded one goal at Carrow Road, but seven away from home. Admittedly, five of them came in a blowout loss to Arsenal in their opening game, but making the most of the home support will be essential to City’s success this year.
The Barclay End is never short of noise, but all the Norwich fans will need to be at their loudest to drown out the travelling Scouse contingent.
Hughton will likely use the Capital One Cup game against Doncaster as a chance to get some momentum going into the Premier League.
Harry Kane has had opportunities to score this season, so he will start the Doncaster game knowing that a goal or two would work in his favour ahead of Saturday. At 19, he is still a development prospect, but getting on the scoresheet is often enough to spark a run of form.
Wes Hoolahan was once again impressive at Newcastle, but he will have to contend with Steven Gerrard on Saturday. Hoolahan excels in the free role that we saw him operate in last week, so Hughton will look for him to act as the engineer of the Norwich attack.
Robert Snodgrass has also made a positive start to the season so will look to link up with Hoolahan early and create chances. Home games should be when the midfield looks to start fast, dictate the tempo and put games out of reach.
Norwich will hope that Sébastien Bassong recovers from his hamstring strain in time for Saturday, with Anthony Pilkington also doubtful with a back injury.
The Canaries have the pieces in place to win a lot of games, but the execution has let them down. Their winless streak in the EPL stretched to nine matches after last week—beating Liverpool would be a great way to get their season going.
Liverpool: Can They Overcome Injury Hell?
When Daniel Agger was stretchered off at Anfield last week clutching his knee, Liverpool fans feared the worst. Agger is an injury-prone player, but the last thing the team needed was him out of the side for an extended period.
Luckily, tests have shown his injury to be a bone bruise rather than ligament damage, with reports stating that he could be cleared to play at Carrow Road. Martin Kelly, on the other hand, was not so lucky. He requires surgery on a torn ACL and will be sidelined until the New Year.
Raheem Sterling and Suso were bright spots in Liverpool's home defeat to Manchester United last week and Rodgers will hope this form continues.
Despite his recent rise, Sterling will remain protected by Rodgers as he develops. Rodgers told The Daily Telegraph that he will manage expectation of the 17-year-old, as well as making him earn everything he gets, rather than giving him a huge contract he can never live up to.
The Suarez-Gerrard linkup will be Liverpool's way into this game, much as it was the last time the teams met. Suarez was simply too much for the Norwich defence, with Gerrard content to feed him passes and watch him run.
The Uruguayan's 45-yard chip to seal his hat-trick probably still gives John Ruddy nightmares; there's no chance of him straying from his line when Suarez is in possession this time.
Liverpool take the lead at the end as Norwich switch off before the end of the first half. Norwich control the second half and sneak an equaliser in the final minutes. 1-1.