Liverpool 5 - 2 Norwich
Liverpool: Jones 16’, Nuñez 28’, Jota 53’, Van Dijk 63’, Gravenberch 90+5’
Norwich: Gibson 22’, Sainz 69’
Liverpool’s first match in the countdown to the end of the Jurgen Klopp era saw the Reds enter as active in all possible competitions. Klopp’s impending exit meant the stakes - already high - felt lifted just that little bit. Buried a bit behind that is how young the squad is with 19 year-old midfielder James McConnell joining fellow Academy players Conor Bradley and Jarell Quansah in the Starting XI.
Liverpool start well and have an early chance as good possession leads to a cross falling to Cody Gakpo who skies it over the goal. About 3 minutes later, Darwin Nuñez curls a shot just outside of the box that beats the keeper but rings the woodwork. And three minutes after that, Diogo Jota just misses playing Nuñez in with a curling cross. Liverpool are active and rather composed, showing clear intent.
GOAL!!! Curtis Jones nods a cross in from none other than Ian McConnell for the opener! Liverpool are up just outside of the quarter hour mark and no one can claim it’s less than they deserve.
GOAL. Norwich equalize off of a corner, following their first real moment of intent. Tough to concede here given the rather positive play that preceded it. Still, while the previous 20 minutes were marked by pretty clear Liverpool dominance, Norwich have found their footing and grown into the match.
GOAL!!! Darwin Nuñez finishes off a quick counter after Conor Bradley wins the ball and eventually ends up providing the incisive pass into the Uruguayan who makes no mistake with his finish. Liverpool up 2-1.
Nearly moment there as Joe Gomez plays Bradley in who re-directs the ball into Gakpo who puts its just wide. Moments later, Gravenberch is denied as two Norwich defenders combine to clear it off the line. Liverpool certainly looking to add more goals here and Norwich fortunate to only be down one at the moment.
The half ends with Liverpool up 2-1 and looking to do more of the same in the second half.
No changes to start the second half. For the Reds, the goal here is to retain the dominant possession they had in the first half, convert a chance or two, and find a touch more consistent poise throughout the half to see the match out.
Inside of two minutes, the Reds see their first attack make it inside the Norwich penalty area only for Cody Gakpo’s attempt blocked and Curtis Jones’ cross into Darwin Nuñez fall safely into the Norwich keeper’s arms.
GOAL!!! Diogo Jota with a terrific finish with his left foot thanks to a beautiful pass over the top from Curtis Jones. That pass and run - over the top and through the channels - has been on all day. Nice to see it finally pay off.
SUBSTITUTE. Dominik Szoboszlai, Andy Robertson and Virgil Van Dijk come on for Curtis Jones, Joe Gomez, and Ibrahima Konate. It’s great to see the two injured stars return, especially given Robbo’s long absence.
GOAL!!! Virgil Van Dijk turns in an bullet header off of an exquisite corner from Domink Szoboszlai. The Reds are absolutely flying and in full control.
Trent Alexander-Arnold comes on for Darwin Nuñez and it officially looks as though the injury/squad crisis is done. Trent’s introduction pushes Conor Bradley a bit further up, as the right-sided winger. Makes sense given his stellar play when in attack.
GOAL. Norwich put one in that counts just a minute after having one waived off for offside. It was a terrific strike from outside the 18.
SUBSTITUTE. Luis Díaz comes on for James McConnell who looks to have come down with a small injury. He walks off on his own so hopefully nothing serious as his debut has been a rather positive one.
GOAL!!! Ryan Gravenberch gets his reward after a solid outing as he puts one in after some decent passing through a packed Norwich box. The goal being the last real play of consequence in the match.
Liverpool secure passage into the fifth round of the FA Cup, where they’ll play the winner of the Watford-Southampton tie. Positive if a bit messy and the biggest wins are seeing the youth do so well in such a big moment and the return of many injured first teamers. Up the progressing and growing Reds.