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Liverpool faced Norwich City on the first day of the Premier League season back in August. Liverpool won that 4-1 at Anfield. Since then, the Reds have gone on to win two trophies and are on their way to their first domestic title since 1990. Norwich are on their way back to the Championship.
The Reds confidently arrived at Carrow Road looking to take a step closer towards sealing their league title. While it wasn’t their best performance by any margin, Liverpool still managed a narrow 1-0 win to go 25 POINTS clear at the top. Maybe the two-week winter break could’ve slowed down their momentum, but Liverpool were left frustrated by Norwich’s tenacity in a surprisingly uneventful first-half.
Maybe it’s the windy conditions, but they just haven’t been able to turn up the music so far. Klopp ‘s rattling evidently turned up their performance levels in the second half. Just when it looked like it’d be a bummy draw, super-sub SADIO MANE saved the day with a stunning winner in the 78th minute!
Well, now they’re just five games away from clinching the title. But for now, Atletico Madrid await in the mid-week Champions League fixture. With this win, at least they’re heading into that game high on confidence.
Here are Liverpool vs Norwich player ratings.
Jurgen Klopp (6.0) –
Perhaps the winter-break blues struck Klopp as his side were far from their best. But his substitutions worked a treat with Mane giving him the three points. Klopp set up his side to endure the counter-attacks well & has inscribed them to find out victories even when their performance isn’t that good enough. But yeah he’ll look to make major improvements from this against Atleti.
Alisson (7.5) –
After sitting idle for the first half-hour, he makes an excellent stop to deny Pukki a clear goal. He was almost caught by surprise in the 73rd minute when Tettey’s shot struck the bar. Made another late save off Pukki’s attempt, but deserves his clean-sheet for that exceptional first-half stop. His 10th CS in 11 games now!
Trent Alexander-Arnold (6.5) –
Began the game with vicious intent, skitting an attempt wide within the first few seconds. Always showing intent in marching forward and putting in inviting crosses. But defensively his shakiness was evident as Cantwell’s wallopped past him multiple times on the break. Should’ve gotten an assist for a venomous low cross in the 86th.
Virgil van Dijk (7.0) –
Van Dijk is maintaining a solid defensive-line, making timely clearances to thwart away danger himself. Ensured that his side stayed strong against Norwich’s electric fast-breaks and put an end to multiple ones himself. Outfooted by Pukki late on, but that didn’t taint another commendable showing by the Dutchman.
Joe Gomez (7.0) –
Gomez has a big task keeping the feisty Pukki quiet today. Looks a bit unnerved by his movement early on. Grew in confidence as the game went on, ultimately nullifying his threat with his clever work. Made clutch challenges whenever required and moved the ball forward pretty well to maintain dominance.
Andy Robertson (7.5) –
Andy’s playing much higher than usual today. Looks desperate for an assist. Lots his wits defensively in the 35th minute, allowing his man through on goal before being bailed out by Alisson. Apart from that tiny mistake, Robertson was relentless marching forward his flank. He always made those lung-bursting runs & put in some delightful crosses which nobody could capitalize on.
Bit unlucky not to get an assist today, but that showing indicates Robbo has his flame back.
Jordan Henderson (7.5) –
Captain Hendo’s being the guardian angel nullifying Norwich’s movement. Popped in an excellent long-ball straight to Firmino at the 10th, but unable to see it converted. But his exquisite long-ball in the 78th minute wasn’t scuffed as Mane converted it brilliantly. Again an everbearing figure dominating midfield with an iron fist.
Marshalled his side forward even when they looked sloppy, made crucial defensive contributions and powered his side to another victory. Even when Liverpool weren’t at their best, Hendo maintains his very high standards.
Gini Wijnaldum (5.0) –
Gini is being an industrious figure in midfield, but unable to produce anything special. Subbed before the hour-mark after a relatively uneventful performance.
Naby Keita (5.0) –
Keita’s first start since Boxing Day. He’s looking proactive in marshalling his side forward, but unable to unlock Norwich’s defence in the first half. Blazed a vicious shot on goal in the 58th, but saw it saved comfortably. Then misses a sitter from yards away a minute later! Booked for a nasty challenge in the late stages. The booking & miss sums up why he doesn’t start more often.
Mohamed Salah (4.0) –
Salah’s getting into the promising possession but lacking the final touches in the initial stages. Being frustrated by Norwich targetting him down. Shackled past his marker to nick a shot on target in the 59th, but unable to see it converted by Keita. He tried & tried to get something, but just wasn’t good enough today. Looked second-best against the worst defence in the league, summing up a poor showing.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (5.5) –
Ox continues filling in Mane’s void very well, creating a few chances with stylish passes early on. Tests Krul with an attempt in the 7th. Fizzled out after an early bloom and just not able to break down Norwich’s defence as well as expected. Subbed for Mane before the hour-mark.
Roberto Firmino (5.5) –
Bobby’s buzzing with malicious intent today. Harrowing Norwich’s defence with his cute flicks & sudden bursting runs. He worked his hardest, often skipping past defenders and getting into promising positions but just can’t seem to get his final delivery right. Missed a sitter from yards out in the 86th. An uncharacteristic sloppy away day performance for the Brazilian.
Fabinho (6.5) –
Fabinho brought an assertive figure in midfield, moving the ball with more fluidity and aiding his side defensively against Norwich’s late surge. Received some important minutes before the Atleti trip.
Sadio Mane (7.5) –
Amped up the intensity of Liverpool’s attacks with his energetic demeanor. Did exactly what brought on for, scoring a stellar goal in taking Henderson’s long-ball in stride before driving home with conviction. Well, the injury didn’t slow him down one bit. Wins Liverpool another three crucial points this season.
James Milner (N/R) –
Milner made sure to get the game over the line in the dying minutes.
This is probably a three-way tie between Mane, Henderson & Robertson. But considering how dominant he looked throughout the 90 minutes, I’ll give this to Hendo for another excellent captain’s performance.