Norwich 0 Liverpool 3
Liverpool progressed into the Carabao Cup fourth round with a 3-0 victory at Norwich after Takumi Minamino hit a brace and Caoimhin Kelleher denied Christos Tzolis from the penalty spot in the first half at Carrow Road.
The all-Premier League clash had the caveat of both clubs making wholesale changes, 18 in total, and one of those Minamino fired the Reds ahead inside four minutes.
Jurgen Klopp’s side almost conceded before the break when the Canaries forced a spot-kick, but Kelleher came to the rescue and Divock Origi’s first goal in 12 months was followed by a second for Minamino to clinch the win.
A minute’s applause took place before the game for the late Jimmy Greaves, who died on Sunday but remains the leading goalscorer in England’s top flight with 366 goals.
Greaves made his professional debut as a teenager and Liverpool’s Kaide Gordon, also an attacker, did the same in Norfolk but a year younger aged only 16.
On the right of a front three alongside Minamino and Origi, the former Derby trainee saw his fellow forwards combine inside four minutes for the opener.
Left-back Kostas Tsimikas drilled a corner towards the penalty spot and Origi headed down for Minamino to shoot home on the turn from six yards.
It was a nightmare start for Daniel Farke’s men, who had ditched their usual 4-3-3 formation for three at the back in an attempt to arrest their poor form but saw the visitors dominate the early exchanges with Ibrahima Konate heading over a good chance with 13 on the clock.
Youngster Gordon provided a glimpse of his potential with a neat dribble to get away from Billy Gilmour before he rifled a low drive past the post.
Tzolis had been Norwich’s most dangerous player and a clever flick created a chance for Adam Idah but he could only curl straight at Kelleher.
The Canaries pair were involved again on the stroke of half-time when the hosts won a penalty after Conor Bradley, another teenage debutant for Liverpool, brought down Dimitris Giannoulis.
Greek international Tzolis stepped up but Kelleher saved the spot-kick with his legs before Reds captain for the night Joe Gomez slid in to deflect Idah’s follow-up effort over in the 42nd minute.
Norwich were initially in the ascendancy after the break and Pierre Lees-Melou inexplicably blazed over with only Kelleher to beat. It proved decisive and three minutes later Liverpool doubled their lead.
Andrew Robertson’s deputy Tsimikas continued to make the most of his opportunity and again got to the byline where he chipped in for Origi to head into the far corner with 50 minutes played.
It was the Belgian’s first goal in 12 months having last scored against Lincoln at the same stage of the competition last year.
Origi almost turned provider minutes later when he found Gordon inside the area but the debutant snatched at the chance and sliced over.
After a raft of changes, Minamino added gloss to the scoreline with 10 minutes left when he dribbled into the area and poked past Angus Gunn to make it 3-0.
It ensured Klopp’s side cruised into the fourth round with various debuts handed out and key men rested ahead of the trip to Brentford while Norwich suffered a sixth defeat this season in another dent to their fragile confidence.