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Norwich City 2, Liverpool 3: First Thoughts

Michael Regan

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Norwich City 2 Hooper 54', Snodgrass 77'
Liverpool 3 Sterling 4', 62; Suarez 11'

  • Let's see here, I've got coffee, I've got my bagel (cream cheese and salami, if you were wondering), let's sit down here and HOLY CRAP RAHEEM STERLING WHAT A GOAL!

  • Ah man, that Sterling goal was awesome. At this point, he's pretty much the best English winger around, right? Has to go to the World Cup and play a big role despite his age if England want to compe-HOLY CRAP LUIS SUAREZ!

  • OK, hey, a spell of not scoring amazing goals every five minutes. I'd almost rather have the goals, but with how well things are going I'll deal. This formation is pretty interesting; it's a diamondish midfield with two up top, but instead of playing as a straight striker as the lineup suggests, Sterling was given a free running role. Given his vision for running lanes and Norwich's leaky zonal marking, that was a brilliant bit of thinking by Brendan Rodgers, and Sterling tore that back line to pieces.

  • Also immensely impressive in the first was Joe Allen. The wee Welshman hasn't had a ton of playing time lately, but becomes much more important with Jordan Henderson out suspended. He responded to the pressure by being the best midfielder on the pitch by a large stretch, with precise passing and (almost) all of the energy in his runs that we've come to expect from our Honey Badger.

  • Lucas Leiva was, unfortunately, less impressive, but given how little he's played since his return to health a certain degree of shakiness had to be expected. He struggled some on the ball and looked a hair off the pace, but his energy levels were good for the role he was playing, even if it wasn't his traditional straight-DM role.

  • Norwich were able to generate some few threats in the first half thanks to somewhat shaky moments from Glen Johnson and Mamadou Sakho, but even when they were capitalizing on their miscues it never felt likely that the hosts would score. That's a huge credit to the job that Martin Skrtel, the midfield, and Simon Mignolet were doing in defense.

  • That Norwich goal... woof. Skrtel and Mignolet both made magnificently awful mistakes to gift Gary Hooper that goal, and Mignolet will probably take the lions' share of the blame from various pundits for a poor aerial challenge. That said, if anyone had bothered to close down any of the passes or the cross that lead to said aerial challenge, Norwich probably doesn't score.

  • Normally we see Suarez try all kinds of random crap against Norwich and it all works no matter how crazy it is. That didn't quite happen today, but instead that magic seemed to pass to Sterling and it. Was. GLORIOUS.

  • Victor Moses? Really, Brendan? Problems in central midfield and you take off Coutinho for Victor friggin' Moses? OK...

  • If anyone figures out what on earth Flannagan was doing on the second Norwich goal, I'll be waiting.

  • If anyone figures out why Gerrard suddenly started playing like a moron around the 70 minute mark, I'll be waiting for that too.

  • Simon Mignolet is a Belgian god.

  • Victor Moses is so bad, you guys.

  • I was going to try to get through this without saying anything about the ref, but come the heck on Andre Marriner. Michael Turner committed five, FIVE, fouls that were worthy of at least a yellow. You gave him one. Didn't even whistle another of them, which was one of the poorer challenges anyone made today. Do your damn job.

  • Snodgrass complaining about Sakho not getting whistled for a foul by Marriner (which, to be fair, it was) was rich considering how much he and Norwich got away with. Heck, you could argue that Snodgrass shouldn't even have been on the pitch after his tackle on Allen in the first half.

  • Oh, Lucas. Two bites at the apple and no goal to show for it. That would have been awesome. That's one heck of an "aw, shucks" face, though.

  • Go away now, Norwich. Enjoy the Championship.

  • Three matches to go. Seven points needed. ON TO THE NEXT.

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We'll be back shortly to take an in-depth look at everything that happened in today's game with the full recap. Until then, let us know your take on the ups and downs of the match in the comments, and if you haven't already, join the community on the Liverpool Offside, where we'll have full coverage and lively in-game discussion for every match this season.

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