Now that, as they say, is what I’m talking about. Finally, a good performance that produced goals and, with it, well deserved validation and – of course – three points in the bag. Bevvies all around, we’re going to win the league.
Well, maybe not. But after a shaky first five games (results wise, primarily), it was just what the doctor ordered. After a series of solid performances that haven’t quite produced a win, albeit three of them against top teams, it seemed the right time to finally kick on against a Norwich side struggling to find the net. Not to be disrespectful, of course; they’re a good team with some top players and we’ve got our own issues with goalscoring, but I think we were ready to break the duck yesterday. It was time.
It always helps when you go a goal up in the first few minutes, too. Suarez broke free and scrapped a shot towards goal, and it went in. No fuss, no post, just in. Just like that, just because. Psychology is important in football, and that really helped us on our way. At the same time, I can imagine, it was a real kick in the teeth for Chris Hughton’s Norwich side. I imagine they fancied their chances against a leaky Liverpool, so that early goal will have hurt him.
The Reds then proceeded to control the game, patiently passing the ball in a manner Rodgers will no doubt have loved. Sahin, Suso (making his first start in the league), Allen and Gerrard combined with lovely, calm play across the pitch. Suarez, too, seemed to strike up instant chemistry with Suso and Sahin in particular. It’s ultimately only worth it if you score, though, and this time we did. Suarez shot wide seconds before he bagged the brace, which is typical of the Uruguayan. Miss one, score one; miss the easy one, snag the tough one. As long as he scores I won’t complain, but he does make it hard for himself.
He should have had a penalty in the first half as well, after Leon Barnett clipped him, hit him on the head and shot him in the face for good measure. In fairness, I don’t recall the positioning of the referee, but take a look for yourself. Stone wall penalty. Suarez’s reputation going against him again? Maybe, but that seems so clear cut to me that reputations shouldn’t come in to it. Thankfully, in any case, the result wasn’t affected.
The second half proved more open, with Norwich bagging two goals of their own. But not before Suarez had completed his hat trick and also set up Nuri Sahin for his third goal of the season. Even then, the Canaries efforts were placed either side of a goal by Steven Gerrard after good work from Raheem Sterling. It was a rout for Liverpool, and Norwich were never really in contention. Liverpool’s third, from Sahin, came right after the restart. That means Norwich started both halves by conceding almost straight away. Not great for them, but wonderful for Liverpool’s confidence.
On the negative side, Reina spilled the ball to Morison to lose the clean sheet, and Skrtel let Holt in for his fine finish (and it was quite the peach). The defence is still leaking goals, which isn’t good. On this occasion the game was already out of their reach by the time they scored, but that won’t always be the case. And as last season proved, goal difference can matter – a LOT. We need to tighten it up. Too many mistakes at the back right now. Granted, we’re playing Johnson somewhat out of position and blooding in a young player in Andre Wisdom after losing Martin Kelly to injury, but it’s still not good enough. We need to start registering some clean sheets.
Overall, I shouldn’t complain. We needed a win and we got it. Suso, Sterling and Wisdom all did great. Suarez bagged three goals, Sahin looked silky and Gerrard looked solid. The season is finally up and running with a win. Quality!
… although, in honesty, in amongst the pleasure of victory I also feel quite terrible. For you see, genius that I am, this week I decided to relieve Luis Suarez of my fantasy team’s captaincy. The tricky Uruguayan bagged three goals, made an assist, played the full ninety minutes and will no doubt receive top bonus points for a man-of-the-match performance. But alas, I thought Fellaini was up for a big game against Southampton.
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