Norwich City 0
Suarez (24), (28), (82)
There has been a recurring theme with our form this season, playing well but not converting the advantage into goals. This has been frustrating.
It would easier to accept if we were abject in every game, however, with every fresh attempt you think OK, we’ll play well AND take our chances and so far, with one or two exceptions, we haven’t to the point that you wonder what’s required to three points. As Kenny said
“We want to win games but it would be nice if we were rubbish and won a game”
Surely this form will come good and eventually, some day some time, such dominance will be rewarded, in spades? Saturday at Carrow Road was not quite that day however, for once everything we, or should I say Luis Suarez, tried seemed to come off. True we were helped by the home side’s hesitancy on the ball in key areas but for once we made them pay, dearly. What could have been a depressing end of season fixture against a normally decent side, turned into something a of a very welcome cake walk setting us up nicely for Wembley next Saturday.
Kenny made five changes bringing back Gerrard from injury, Shelvey, Bellamy, Carragher and Downing, Andy Carroll was left at home. No doubt all this was with Wembley in mind but with Kenny’s team selection, although not in the league Rafa’s rotation, you don’t always know what he’s going to do so it’s pointless trying to speculate!
It’s ironic that in the same weekend Luis Suarez got his first hat rick for us Fernando Torres achieved the same fete for Chelsea. Both players have had their problems since their respective moves however on the pitch Suarez has easily eclipsed Torres in terms of bedding down into his new team. Suarez’s goal tally for the campaign could be better however one can say about every Reds attacker or midfielder this season. What he has provided is a threat, he is the footballing equivalent of a hypoactive child, defenders can’t take eyes off him for fear of what he’s going to do next. A day like Saturday was always going to happen, and surely there will be more!
Suarez’s goals increased in quality as the match went on. The first saw Gerrard catching out Fox, who was dwelling on the ball in his own half. Before the defender could recover Suarez was put through to smash a cross shot into the far corner of Ruddy’s goal. Four minutes later he was at it again seizing on Ward’s failure to gather the ball and heading straight for the jugular. Before Norwich could recover he drilled home a straight low drive.
After that we were confident and, to a degree, in cruse control. Shelvey hit the bar from a Downing cross. This was about our thirtieth effort of the season to hit the woodwork a stat that is disturbing just as much as the fact that someone has taken the time and effort to study and record it! Shelvey then, via Suarez, missed an easier chance from Enrique’s cross which he won’t wish to remember! Downing produced a good save from Ruddy after picking up Gerrard’s ball and cutting inside from the right.
Suarez then had a great chance to complete his hat trick when the ball broke to him on the edge of the area. He bore down on Ruddy however instead of knocking it past him he, rather extravagantly, decided to lift it over his head and also the bar. If it had come off everyone would have be drooling however, when we are shooting blanks perhaps a more boring, pragmatic approach would have been better but to suggest that to Suarez is to fly in the face of what the man is about?
We need not have worried as the hat tick came. Johnson tidied up a Norwich attack with a long clearance to our man who was just inside the Norwich half. Clearly he couldn’t be bothered to do what Torres did against Barcelona and run on to instigate a one on one with Ruddy so he just chipped him from 40 odd yards out!
At the end Kenny said
“Luis has been like that many times this year and not been rewarded – and it’s the same with the team.”
For once, albeit too late for league positions, he and we got something. Let’s hope it carries on to next Saturday.
Norwich City: Ruddy, Drury (R Martin – 12′ ), Ward, Naughton, R Bennett, Johnson, Pilkington, Fox (Vaughan – 46′ ), E Bennett, Howson, Morison (Holt – 76′ ), Substitutes: Steer, R Martin, Surman, Hoolahan, Vaughan, Holt, Wilbraham
Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Jose Enrique, Agger, Carragher, Gerrard (Coates – 85′ ), Henderson, Downing, Shelvey, Suarez (Kuyt – 85′ ), Bellamy, Substitutes: Doni, Coates, Kelly, Skrtel, Maxi, Spearing, Kuyt