Liverpool 1-1 Norwich City | Premier League match report

Finally at Liverpool, the big number nine was sent on from the bench and saved his side’s afternoon with a powerful header at the Kop end of the sort that would have made anyone from Tony Hateley to John Toshack proud. Unfortunately for Anfield, it was not Andy Carroll. He stayed on the bench until 10 minutes from the end. Norwich’s Grant Holt, formerly of Barrow and Workington, was the second-half substitute who earned his side a notable point. Liverpool could, and really should, have had the game wrapped up after creating a succession of chances, almost all of which fell to the normally deadly Luis Suárez. But the Uruguayan had an off day, while the more limited Norwich striker made the most of what little came his way. Liverpool could have been two goals up within the first five minutes. Martin Skrtel rattled John Ruddy’s bar with a header from the first corner of the game, then when Suárez easily rounded Leon Barnett to leave himself a clear shooting chance moments later, the Kop gasped in anticipation only for the normally reliable striker to miss the target. When Craig Bellamy set up Suárez again in the 10th minute Ruddy managed to get a hand to his sidefooted effort and tip the ball on to a post, before Stewart Downing squandered the rebound from close range. Liverpool were playing with much more urgency and penetration, with not only Bellamy but Glen Johnson restored to the side, and it appeared only a matter of time before Norwich were broken down, though before Suárez fired wide with his third clear chance of the game, Wes Hoolahan did bring a save from Pepe Reina. After surviving the initial rush, however, Norwich began to play themselves into the game and hold their own in midfield. Reina needed to be alert again to hold a far-post header from Steve Morison after David Fox’s corner, then Elliott Bennett dispossessed José Enrique on the edge of the area but could not release his shot in time. By the halfway point of the first half the Norwich fans felt sufficiently emboldened to ask where the famous Anfield atmosphere was. Another 10 minutes and they were making comparisons with libraries, and they had a point. Russell Martin was required to tidy up on his own line when Ruddy came out to deny Dirk Kuyt and allowed the ball to run loose to Suárez, but once the visitors had found their feet there was little to report at either end by way of goalmouth incident, unless you were to count Suárez kicking the goalframe in frustration after another attack petered out tamely. By the interval it was debatable whether Liverpool deserved to take a lead, though they ended up with one courtesy of a couple of Norwich blunders in the minutes added on for stoppage time. Martin was so busy trying to keep Suárez in check as Liverpool played a long ball forward from the back that he inadvertently knocked the ball into Bellamy’s path instead. The much travelled striker was not about to pass up the opportunity to score against his first professional club but his shot was helped into the net by a deflection from Marc Tierney that took Ruddy out of the equation. Norwich began the second half promisingly, Anthony Pilkington bringing a diving save from Reina, but were lucky not to got further behind when Suárez demonstrated his movement and ability to make something out of nothing. Turning and skipping away from a bemused Barnett for the second time in the game Suárez once again made space for a clear shot at goal, and thought he had successfully flicked the ball past Ruddy when Martin’s outstretched leg appeared from nowhere to divert a goalbound effort on to an upright and out. Suárez looked as if an entire season’s luck had deserted him in a single afternoon, and was entitled to be mystified by his inability to add to his scoring tally, though his misses never appeared likely to be costly until Norwich pulled themselves back into the game on the hour. Paul Lambert had just sent on Holt as a substitute, and within three minutes the tall striker headed the visitors level. Hoolahan calmly spread the ball out to the right, and from Pilkington’s perfect, hanging cross, Grant arrived at a gallop to beat Jamie Carragher, Johnson and Reina in the air to thump a header home. Grant had an equally inviting chance just three minutes later, this time from a Pilkington cross from the left, but Reina stayed on his line and was able to beat the ball away. Only then did Kenny Dalglish send Carroll on, rather puzzling some home fans by cutting one of his supply lines when Downing was the player who had to make way. As Bellamy had already been replaced by Jordan Henderson it meant Carroll was asked to operate without natural wingers on either flank. To no one’s great surprise, he managed little of note, missing his one opportunity, a close-range header from a Steven Gerrard cross in added time. Suárez missed a couple more chances before the end, Barnett recovered some kudos with a great tackle on the charging Charlie Adam, and Norwich escaped with a well-deserved point. Suárez, who else, missed the last chance of the match with in the closing seconds, though as much as his on target attempt was worthy of a goal, credit must go to Ruddy for a remarkable and important save. Premier League 2011-12 Liverpool Norwich City Premier League Paul Wilson © 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

View the full story here: The Guardian

A news article on 2011-10-22 19:35:50 from: The Guardian

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