Norwich City vs. Liverpool: 6 Things We Learned in 5-2 Rout
Liverpool picked up their first Premier League win under Brendan Rodgers at Carrow Road with a thumping 5-2 win over Norwich City, who themselves are still without a league win with new manager Chris Hughton in charge.
Luis Suarez, as with last season, was the main man for the away side as he plundered another hat trick, with Nuri Sahin and Steven Gerrard also on the scoresheet.
Forwards Steve Morison and Grant Holt got the replies for Norwich, but the game was way out of reach by the time they made their mark.
Here are six things we learned from the game.
A Great Start Does Wonders for Teams
It took less than 70 seconds for Luis Suarez to fire Liverpool ahead at Carrow Road, pouncing on a loose clearance to drive his shot past John Ruddy for the opening goal.
In several games previously this season, the Reds had dominated play but had not managed to fashion enough clear openings to give themselves goal-scoring chances. Other times, they had not been clinical enough to convert their chances when they did make them.
A six percent conversion rate of shots in the Premier League before the Norwich match tells its own story.
This time around, however, the early goal gave Liverpool a big boost. They not only dominated the game thereafter, but also created lots of chances and certainly tucked plenty of them away too.
Luis Suarez Loves Playing Against Norwich
Two games at Carrow Road—six goals.
Some players just find a stadium or a club who they seem to do exceptionally well against, and for Luis Suarez, that seems to be Norwich City at Carrow Road.
For the second season in succession, the Uruguayan has netted a hat trick at the East Anglian stadium, leading Liverpool to victory in the process.
Last season, just like this weekend, Suarez got plenty of stick from the home fans and missed one or two other chances. Still, he certainly had more than the last word after another exhibition display of control, skill and, ultimately, match-winning ability.
Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool Is Getting Closer to Being His Own
Bit by bit, Brendan Rodgers has been shaping the Liverpool side to play the way he wants. The passing game has been in evidence for the past month or so, and today the movement in the final third was much improved.
The three midfielders seemed to be getting much more to grip with the system—when to send one forward, when to keep two central lateral players, when to keep possession and when to release the attacking triumvirate into space.
As games (and training sessions) go by, Liverpool will continue to improve.
Liverpool's Game Still Riddled with Defensive Errors
For all the impressive parts of Liverpool's play against Norwich, they still managed to make two basic errors in defence, which ended up costing them goals.
For a change, the attacking play was reliable enough that this didn't matter, but Pepe Reina—who had had a great game up until that point—was disappointed to see Steve Morison score after he had failed to hold the initial shot in the second half.
Martin Skrtel mishandled the ball entirely later on, allowing Grant Holt an easy chance to pull the game back to 5-2.
The Reds really need to sort out these easily avoidable mistakes.
Joe Allen's Phenomenal Midfield Play Continues
Luis Suarez will pick up the plaudits for his goals, but Joe Allen was the catalyst for much of Liverpool's play today.
The Welshman completed a fairly astonishing 91 passes during the game against Norwich City, equaling a 96 percent completion rate.
It was far from simple, safe fare either. Around a third of all his passes were forward, and in the attacking third of the pitch, Allen misplaced just one single pass. He made Norwich the first team to experience a very real taste of "death by football."
Highly notable plaudits should also go to centre-back pairing Skrtel and Agger for their passing, misplacing just six passes between them during the entire match.
The Kids Are Alright
Eighteen-year-old forward Suso and 19-year old defenceman Andre Wisdom were both making their full Premier League debuts for Liverpool against Norwich City down the right flank. They both looked entirely at ease, comfortable and capable in their top-flight surroundings.
Suso showed incredible touch and control on the ball, always looking in charge of the situation. He rarely gave the ball away needlessly. Wisdom just rarely gave the ball away, full stop.
A 96 percent pass completion rate on his league debut is just an astonishing feat for an inexperienced young lad—as well as three out of four successful clearances, winning all three tackles he made, both headers he challenged for and six of his seven ground duels.
In addition, 17-year-old Raheem Sterling provided another exciting glimpse of his potential, with a series of dribbles and an assist for the final Liverpool goal.
It's fair to say that Liverpool's new-look team is being built firmly on the foundations of youth, and these three pioneers are the groundwork of future successes.
statistics courtesy of EPLindex.com
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