Luis Suarez: Our full focus is now on Chelsea
Published 20/04/2014 | 14:54
Liverpool striker Luis Suarez scored his 30th goal of the season for the Reds in Easter Sunday's 3-2 win over relegation-threatened Norwich at Carrow Road but said his only focus is on title glory.
Raheem Sterling scored twice and Suarez was also on target as the Merseyside club moved five points clear of second-placed Chelsea at the top of the Barclays Premier League table.
Liverpool romped to a 2-0 lead inside 10 minutes as the Canaries were ripped apart with a superb 25-yard effort from Sterling, before Suarez tucked home from close range.
However, Norwich - just two points above the drop zone - rallied after Gary Hooper reduced the deficit following a poor punch by Simon Mignolet only for Sterling to slot home a deflected third on the break.
Robert Snodgrass set up a tense finale with his header with 13 minutes left, but the Reds secured what looks to be a priceless victory in their bid to win a first championship in more than 20 years.
After the match, Suarez, who became the first Liverpool player to score 30 goals in one season since Ian Rush achieved the feat in 1987, told Sky Sports News: "Of course we are happy because those three points are important for us and we worked really hard today against Norwich.
"Every time they are difficult (to play) and they are fighting not to go down and we know that.
"(The 30 goals) is important for myself but my target is to help the team every time. We are on the top now and we enjoy that."
However, with Jose Mourinho's Chelsea up next at Anfield, the Uruguay international is not popping the champagne corks to celebrate just yet.
He added: "In football you never know what will happen. We will keep calm and focus on the next game against Chelsea."
Norwich manager Neil Adams knows his side face a tough task to stave off relegation with games against Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal making up their remaining fixtures.
However, he was able to find positives in the defeat by Liverpool which he hopes to carry into those games.
Adams said: "I thought we deserved something from the game, particularly with the second-half performance. The first-half performance wasn't good enough. We were playing against a top team and you can't give these types of team an inch or they will punish you.
"They are at the top of the table and that's why they've got top-class players in their side and we didn't get close enough in the tackles. We were a little bit shy with our passing and maybe a bit off the pace. Certainly in the second half I couldn't ask any more of them.
"The application from the players (in the second half) was precisely the response that you want. What you don't want is Liverpool running all over you and dominating the game and from the first whistle in the second half you could see we were about it.
"We had that belief we could go on and do something against a top side and the key message from that is that we've got three key games coming up. The second half performance is what we need in those three (games) and if we can do that we're still very confident we can get enough points to stay in the division."
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers hailed the performance of teenager Sterling in the win which keeps the title race firmly in his side's hands.
"He is the best young player in European football at the moment," Rodgers said.
"At 19 years of age you don't see anyone better. His intelligence with the ball, his movement and he's scoring goals. His first goal was a wonderful strike. He's just shifted it, got his shot off; to beat a goalkeeper of John Ruddy's quality shows you the quality of the strike.
"His pass for Luis' goal was like a top midfield player, so there's an assist, and his position for the counter attack when he broke away and obviously gets a bit of luck on the deflection but his overall performance he's shown so much maturity."
The Northern Irishman also revealed how he inspired his side ahead of kick-off following an emotional week for the club.
He said: "We've come off the back of the week where we held the memorial service for Hillsborough. We used Margaret Aspinall (chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group), one of her quotes she made on the day as a real motivation for us going into the game and real encouragement for us and the players are helping themselves.
"They're winning games and they are very hungry. We have qualified for the Champions League. That was the objective and we can finish no lower than third which is an incedible achievement for the team and the squad."
Qualification for the Champions League and winning the Premier League title are within Liverpool's grasp, and the Reds boss also said they want to hit another target.
He said: "We have a performance goal. We want to reach 100 plus goals and we're now on 96. There are only three teams in the history of the Premier League that have got 100 goals or more. We want to try and push for that in the final three games."