Traveling to Carrow Road to face Norwich City, Liverpool held on to win 3-2 with a familiar brand of wildness, mathematically securing their place in next year's Champions League as they close in on their first title in twenty-four years.
Raheem Sterling was the star figure for Liverpool, netting twice and assisting Luis Suarez's 30th goal of the season. In the absence of Daniel Sturridge and Jordan Henderson, Sterling's contributions were vital, especially considering Liverpool's shoddy defensive performance.
This was one of the earliest start times I've ever seen (4 AM PST), and so the details of the match are dreamlike in my mind. It began excitingly for Liverpool, with Sterling unleashing a stunner into the top corner from long range to jolt weary international fans like myself awake. And after the 19-year-old turned provider, setting up Suarez to make the score 2-0 inside eleven minutes, it seemed that Liverpool would coast to an easy victory at their home away from home against the colorful Canaries.
Gary Hooper changed the mood when he seized upon Mignolet's errant punch in the 54th minute, slicing the Liverpool lead in half with a pass into an empty net. After looking thoroughly beaten for the majority of the game, Norwich and their fans found belief, a hope that just maybe they could claw their way to a point against the Premier League leaders.
The Canaries caused genuine problems during their spell of confidence, holding 72% possession over a ten minute span surrounding the Hooper goal. However, Liverpool remained dangerous, as Suarez cut into open space before curling wide of the left post with Ruddy left grasping at air. Three minutes later, Sterling used a fortunate deflection to put Liverpool ahead 3-1, his shot bouncing off Bradley Johnson and over Ruddy, who must loathe his encounters with the Reds.
And with that Norwich would die off, right? Not exactly. Reminiscent of so many games this season, Liverpool allowed their opponents a way back into the game, although like usual, they were able to hang on for the victory. Shortly after Brendan Rodgers introduced Victor Moses, Robert Snodgrass headed Norwich back to 3-2. All Moses' fault, obviously.
That's where the score stayed, although Lucas should have given Liverpool a 4-2 advantage with a massive chance in stoppage time. Unlike City and Chelsea over the past week, Liverpool found a way to take all three points from a match against a cellar dweller. Norwich are in big trouble, facing a cruel end of season schedule. Compound that with Sunderland's incredible week, and relegation looms as a very real possibility for the Canaries.
|Shots (On Target)
-Sterling was miles better than anyone else on the pitch.
-Both Lucas and Joe Allen started in the midfield because of Hendo's suspension, and I thought Allen did particularly well.
-Next week pretty much decides this race. Liverpool can finish it off or let City right back into it if they lose.
|# Game Thread Comments
|Dan Bernstein (loyal2reds)