Liverpool play their first of four consecutive home games on Sunday against former Luis Suarez cannon fodder, Norwich City. After narrowly winning their first two league games and putting in a decent showing for a draw against Arsenal, Liverpool lost their next two matches in embarrassing fashion, giving up six goals and only scoring one. Brendan Rodgers finds himself under considerable pressure to get a good result on Sunday. At this point, a victory is the minimum requirement. While Norwich at home, on paper, sounds like a game that Liverpool should win with ease, nothing has been easy for this team this season.
With Liverpool facing difficult upcoming away fixtures through November, it's imperative that they earn all three points in these easier home games. There was a time, not that long ago, when playing against Norwich at home was the highlight of every Liverpool fan's season, but those times are past. This is a winnable game that Brendan Rodgers needs to find a way to capitalize on.
The Canaries currently sit one place above Liverpool on the Premier League table, which means very little this early in the season, but is still pretty galling. For Norwich, forward Gary Hooper and midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu are out with injury, and Liverpool loanee Andre Wisdom will be ineligible to play against his home team. Other than that, Norwich is likely to field: Ruddy; Whittaker, Martin, Bassong, Brady; Redmond, Howson, Tettey, Jarvis; Hoolahan; Jerome
Expected Liverpool Line-Up:
Clyne, Škrtel, Sakho, Moreno
Lucas, Milner, Lallana
Firmino, Benteke, Coutinho
News broke on Saturday that Jordan Henderson, just back from the United States to treat a heel injury, has now broken his other foot and will be out of contention for 6-8 weeks. While we all wanted Henderson to take some notes from Gerrard on how to serve as Liverpool captain, being injured for half the season was one lesson he probably could have done without. This is a body blow for a Liverpool midfield that does not look half as good without him. Joe Allen is nearing match fitness, but not quite there yet and Joe Flanagan is also on the long term injury list. The only good that could come out of Henderson's absence is if Jordan Rossiter takes advantage of the extra playing time that he'll likely be given through the autumn to gain confidence and experience on the pitch.
On the plus side, expect to see Daniel Sturridge on the bench for this game. He might even get a run-out at 75 minutes, if results go our way. Mamadou Sakho has signed a new five year contract with the club, pledging his services to Liverpool straight through the teens and into 2020. He captained the Europa League side and out in a strong showing on Thursday. This may have been to rest Dejan Lovren in preparation for Sunday, but I remain ever the optimist. Philippe Coutinho is back in contention after his one game ban, and a positive performance mid-week from Adam Lallana means you'll probably see him, if not in the starting line up, then definitely as an impact sub in the second half.
Kickoff is set for 4:00PM BST/11:00AM EST, with coverage from the USA Network in the US. We'll be keeping you updated with all the buildup to the game, including team news as it's released, our live matchday thread and post-match recaps from The Liverpool Offside staff. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on all the action as it happens.