Norwich boss Chris Hughton found a way to blame his own team after Luis Suarez produced one of the greatest all-time Premier League performances to lead Liverpool to a 5-1 win at Anfield.
Suarez netted four times to take his personal tally to 11 in five games against the Canaries. Three of Wednesday’s strikes were close to unstoppable.
However, that did not stop Hughton pointing the finger at his defenders, per David Maddock of the Daily Mirror:
Yes he has incredible talent, but if you afford him that space then he will do that.
It's very fresh after the game, and I'm more disappointed that we gave him so much space and time.
It’s difficult to support Hughton’s criticism of his own side when the nature of Suarez’s goals are considered.
His first was a contender for goal of the season. Latching onto a bouncing ball 40 yards from goal, Suarez lashed a volley he was ridiculous to even attempt into the top corner.
There was no way the Norwich defenders could have seen the strike coming and, had the ball flown wide, the old cliché about Norwich being happy for Liverpool to shoot from distance would have been trotted out.
Suarez’s second is the only one that should have been stopped as the visitors were caught sleeping at a corner, but his third—which completed yet another hat-trick against the Canaries—had echoes of a Matt Le Tissier strike.
The Uruguayan lifted the ball over the head of one defender before feigning to repeat the trick to another, creating just enough room to stun a volley into the far corner. Hughton’s claim that Norwich gave him too much room would be more accurate if he acknowledged that Suarez’s brilliance credited that space.
A fourth was still to arrive and again there was nothing Norwich could do. Suarez whipped a lethal direct free-kick over the wall, leaving John Ruddy helpless.
Was Suarez's display the best in Premier League history?
If Hughton needed to find fault with his team, he should have focused on their lack of ball retention—they kept 38 percent possession—which consistently allowed Liverpool to build attacks.
The Reds are becoming a force on home soil under Brendan Rodgers, winning six of seven games to begin the process of returning Anfield to a fortress.
West Brom, Fulham and Norwich have each conceded at least four goals in Liverpool’s last three home games, and Suarez has been the talisman in all three.