Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Sterling Double Edges Out Norwich

After what has been an emotional week for Liverpool with the 25th Hillsborough memorial bringing the world of football together, the team buoyed by the memories of the 96 looking over them travelled to Norwich for an early kick-off on Easter Sunday.

Liverpool made two enforced changes from the win against Manchester City with Joe Allen and Lucas Leiva replacing the suspended Jordan Henderson and injured Daniel Sturridge while Steven Gerrard was selected for his 666th appearance placing him third in the all-time list with the legendary Ian Callaghan and former teammate Jamie Carragher ahead of him.

As has been traditional at home this season, Liverpool brought their blitzing style to an away game with the opening goal coming after only four minutes with the in-form Sterling stunning the crowd with a spectacular effort that sailed past Ruddy in the Norwich goal.

Ruddy prevented the visitors from going further ahead with a strong save from Allen after the midfielder had been found by Coutinho but was beaten second time around when Sterling carved an opening down the left and hit a pinpoint pass to Suarez which the Uruguayan side-footed for his 30th league goal of the season.

Norwich responded well with Skrtel producing a vital clearance from and dangerous cross while Mignolet denied a powerful effort from Redmond to ensure the 2-0 lead remained intact into half-time and after the interval, Norwich began brightly but it was Liverpool who were the most threatening as Sterling hit an effort over the cross bar after Suarez and Coutinho combined.

Norwich reduce the deficit after a dangerous cross troubled Mignolet who was out muscled by Johnson and the loose ball found Hooper who tapped into the empty net to the joy of the home fans. However their joy was short lived as Liverpool regained their two goal lead within minutes as Sterling gained possession and raced down the middle before tricking through the Norwich defence and clipping a shot at goal, the ball deflected off a defender and left Ruddy helpless as it looped over him into the net.

Norwich reduced the deficit when Snodgrass glanced the ball past Mignolet to set up a tight last 13 minutes and they could have been level when Van Wolfswinkel headed for goal but did so straight at Mignolet who kept his side's lead intact as they held on for the win, a victory that out them five points clear at the top and three wins from a first league title in 24 years.