LIVERPOOL 3 - 1 NORWICH CITY
Liverpool: Mané 64’, Salah 67’, Diaz 81’
Norwich City: Rashica 48’
Liverpool’s fully fit squad lasted all of a week—and maybe not even quite that—with Diogo Jota coming off injured mid-week against Inter Milan and then Roberto Firmino ruled out with a knock against Nowrich, depriving manager Jürgen Klopp of his two top centre forward options.
Despite that, the Reds went into their game against relegation-threatened Norwich heavy favourites—and still with enviable firepower, as even those two injuries meant the hosts could start Luis Diaz, Sadio Mané, and Mohamed Salah in attack against the Premier League’s worst defensive outfit.
In order to keep new signing Diaz in his most comfortable position on the left, it was Mané rather than Salah who moved into the middle of the attack. It was Norwich, though, who started on the front foot, trying to catch the hosts unaware with a push forward straight from kickoff. After the unexpected push, the Reds quickly settled and should have opened the scoring when Salah picked out Kostas Tsimikas unmarked at the back post five minutes in only for the left back to slice the ball over the open goal.
From there, the game began to take on a more familiar look for much of the first half, with Liverpool dominating possession and hounding Norwich any time they lost the ball while the visitors increasingly looked to be trying to simply hang on and hope. Still, while much of the half was dominated by the Reds, Norwich did have their own chances and could have been ahead when Teemu Pukki slid the ball past Alisson only to watch it skim just wide of the goalkeeper’s left post.
Still, Liverpool were the better side and inches from a deserved opener when Virgil van Dijk put the ball in the goal on 38 minutes only for Jordan Henderson—who had inadvertently blocked an incoming shot that fell to Van Dijk—to be flagged offside in the buildup.
For all Liverpool’s territorial dominance in the first half, the start of the second hammered home just how important it is to capitalise when you have the edge as a nothing shot from outside the box by Milot Rashica in the 48th minute took a looping deflection off Joël Matip and into the Liverpool goal. It was a blow for the hosts, but not one that you would have bet they couldn’t overcome.
In the 64th minute, they got their more than deserved equaliser in spectacular fashion as Tsimikas chipped the ball in over the Norwich defender to Mané in the middle. The ball was slightly behind the Senegalese forward, forcing him to attempt a bicycle kick—which he executed flawlessly to draw the Reds level.
Minutes later, it was Salah’s turn as the Egyptian brought in a ball over the top from Alisson. He looked as though he may have overplayed the chance, allowing Norwich’s defence to get back. Salah stayed calm, though, sat the onrushing goalkeeper down, and passed into the goal from the edge of the penalty area while the opposition defenders could only stand and watch.
In the 81st minute, the Reds put a bow on their comeback when Henderson spotted Diaz cutting across the Norwich defensive line. The pass to put him through on goal was inch perfect, the chipped finish from Diaz for his first in red sublime, and the match settled.
Final Thoughts and Man of the Match
Liverpool fully deserved victory but their failure to capitalise in the first made it nervy when Norwich opened the scoring through a fortuitous deflection. In the end, though, a well taken goal from Mané along with an outstanding overall attacking performance from Salah and a gorgeous first Liverpool goal for Diaz settled the game—with a help from a strong performance by Tsimikas on the left and some solid Van Dijk defending when called upon.
Liverpool’s Man of the Match vs. Norwich City
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Virgil van Dijk