Rating the Liverpool Players Against Norwich
The Reds were always in control against the hapless Canaries—who they beat 5-2 at Carrow Road in September—and took a deserved lead when Jordan Henderson brilliantly fired in from the edge of the penalty area after the ball had been nicked away from Luis Suarez.
The Uruguayan wasn’t to be denied though, and he soon scored his seventh goal in three games against Norwich to make it 2-0 after Daniel Sturridge had dummied a Lucas Leiva pass.
Sturridge became the first Reds player to score in his first three games for Liverpool since Ray Kennedy in 1974 when he turned home Stewart Downing’s superb cross to make it 3-0 in the second half. Shortly after, Steven Gerrard expertly fired home a low effort from the edge of the box, as only he can, to make it four.
The unfortunate Ryan Bennett then turned substitute Raheem Sterling’s effort into his own net to make it 5-0.
Here are the ratings for the Liverpool players:
This was a rare outing for the Australian due to an injury to Pepe Reina, but ultimately Reina could probably have played anyway given what little action happened in front of the Liverpool goal.
Jones was solid enough though, and kept a morale-boosting clean sheet which could be a valuable boost to his confidence given potential appearances in the coming weeks.
The goalkeeper was rarely called upon, but he marshaled the defence well and was able to comfortably enjoy the performance of the players in front of him.
Yet another impressive outing from Wisdom, who is seemingly improving with every game.
Liverpool's dominance allowed the full-back to showcase some of his abilities coming forward here, and Wisdom didn't let anyone down as he contributed to attacks and looked to put in dangerous crosses from the right hand side.
There was a rush of blood to the head at one point when he cut inside and slashed an effort wide with his left foot, but this was another step on the road in the teenager's development.
A surprise Premier League start for veteran centreback, who once again didn't let anyone down.
The threat of the returning Grant Holt was easily marginalised by Carragher and defensive partner Daniel Agger, and whilst he won't have had many easier games at the back for the Reds, the fact that this one ended in a clean sheet will be well received in the Carragher household, probably more so than the five goals scored.
With a cup clash at Oldham coming up next, Carragher is likely to stay in the team for at least another week.
Like Carragher, this was a comfortable day at the office for Agger, who may have had a different defensive partner, but once again glided through a game with ease.
Agger was able to bring the ball out of defence with ease as Liverpool dominated possession at Anfield. The Dane often started Liverpool's attacks, given that Norwich were slow to press the Liverpool centre-backs.
A simple day for the Dane.
Switching to the left side of defence allows Johnson to cut inside and add a potent threat to the Liverpool attack, and the full-back did that superbly against Norwich.
Always available and willing to be called upon on the left hand side, Johnson got forward brilliantly to supplement the attack and provided key roles in both the fourth and fifth goals.
This was every inch the performance of the perfect modern full-back, and when Johnson plays like this there are few better in the world.
Lucas has been back from injury for seven weeks now, and it is in matches such as this one that he can simply glide through without much effort.
The Brazilian was always looking for the ball and always looking to instigate things with simple passes for the Reds, although he couldn't have imagined that his pass to Daniel Sturridge would have turned into a fine assist for Luis Suarez given the expert dummy from the Englishman.
Lucas, who left the field on 69 minutes, was replaced by Raheem Sterling and was able to reflect on a job well done.
Patrolling the game at the heart of a Liverpool team who were completely dominating their opposition, was Steven Gerrard at his very best.
His performance had already been impressive enough before he garnished it with his low, daisy-cutting effort which flew into the bottom corner with laser-guided accuracy to make it 4-0.
Gerrard looked to be enjoying himself perhaps more so than at any other time this season—although his recent performances have been excellent.
This was another captain's innings, and Liverpool can only hope for more.
The disappointment amongst the majority of Liverpool fans that Henderson didn't start last weekend's loss at Manchester United tells you everything you need to know about the standing of a player who is still regarded as somewhat of a laughingstock outside of the club.
Supporters have grown to appreciate the effort and endeavour put in by the former Sunderland man, and he garnished this match, his best display for Liverpool, with a stunning and crucial goal to put the Reds in front midway through the first half.
Henderson is the best Liverpool midfielder at closing down and pressing the opposition—a key Rodgers trait—and more displays like this will ensure that he is around to do that more often than not this season.
He was excellent.
Another appearance for Downing, who is beginning to affect games more and more.
He wasn't at his stellar best here. But the brilliant first-time cross for Sturridge's goal certainly earns him enough leeway and protection from criticism. The winger also joined in all Reds attacks as they searched for more goals.
He was quietly effective, and on a day like today that proved to be enough.
It is one thing to know what Suarez is going to do, but it is another one entirely to stop him from doing it.
The Premier League's most entertaining player was at it again against Norwich here, playing a key role in Henderson's goal before notching a 20th strike of the season and a seventh in three games against Norwich to make it 2-0.
Suarez was excellent again—one first half dragback fooled the entire stadium—and, playing in the deeper role to accommodate Sturridge, he looked as though he could do no end of damage.
His link-up play with his new strike partner was extremely encouraging too.
This could be the start of a beautiful friendship.
It only took him three games, but Daniel Sturridge is in the Liverpool record books already.
The first man to score in his opening three Liverpool games since Ray Kennedy in 1974 had an excellent home debut, looking dangerous whenever he picked up the ball and linking up with Suarez brilliantly.
He will score goals on this Liverpool team with the manner that he arrived on the scene. To turn home Downing's cross in front of the Kop in the second half shows that Liverpool have got themselves a goal poacher for the first time in a while.
Sturridge has already made friends and influenced people, and long may that continue.
Raheem Sterling (on for Lucas, 69mins): Sterling might be seen coming off the bench more often than not in the latter part of the season, and he was as lively as usual here. Made the fifth goal with a superb turn and burst into the box.
Fabio Borini (on for Sturridge, 69mins): A welcome return to Anfield action for the Italian, who adds yet more firepower to this suddenly dangerous Liverpool side. Will be eyeing a start at Oldham in the FA Cup next week.
Joe Allen (on for Henderson, 77mins): Now passed by Lucas and Henderson in the pecking order, Allen will have to impress to get his place back.
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