Saturday 24 February 2018

Norwich: We'll make things 'messy' for Liverpool in title hunt

Jim van Wijk

Midfielder Bradley Johnson maintains Norwich will be out to make things "messy" for Barclays Premier League title hopefuls Liverpool as they aim to boost their fading survival hopes by pulling off a shock victory at Carrow Road on Easter Sunday.

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard was close to tears following last weekend's 3-2 win over rivals Manchester City at Anfield, after which he pulled the players into a huddle and has told his team-mates they must all treat the Norwich clash as "like it's the last game of our careers".

While Liverpool are expected to take a giant step closer to what would be a first championship crown in 24 years by leaving Norfolk with all three points, Norwich are in desperate need of a positive result after defeat at fellow strugglers Fulham left them just two above the dropzone heading into a nightmare fixture run-in for new boss Neil Adams.

Johnson insists the Canaries are ready to rise to what is a daunting challenge.

"Most of the lads will have seen the Man City game, and it is right what Gerrard is saying because it is going to be a hard game for them," the former Leeds midfielder said.

"Coming to Norwich is not an easy place and we are going to make it as hard for them as possible because we want to win just as much as they do.

"Everyone is talking about how Liverpool have done well this season and they are a good side, but it is about us, and if we can get our work rate right then I am sure we can do something.

"We are not listening to anyone. We are going to go out there on Sunday and want to win the game, and from the kick off we will try to get in their face and upset their play.

"We have had a good week's training and know what Liverpool are about, but we cant go into the game think 'Liverpool are this or that, so we have to stop this player' - we have just got to do what we are good at, that is get in their faces, make it a messy game for them and hopefully get the three points.

Johnson added: "It is theirs to lose now, they are top, but are there on merit because they have been a top-class team all year.

"We have to get points on the board because we are in a dog fight and know how hard it is going to be.

"We are not thinking Liverpool are the champions, we are just thinking they are a team in front of us and we need to go get three points, so we will go there and look to knock them out of the way."

Liverpool forward Luis Suarez has plundered hat-tricks in each of his last two visits to Carrow Road - and smashed four against the Canaries when they were stuffed 5-1 at Anfield earlier this season.

Johnson, though, insists key to Norwich's hopes will not just be about shackling the Uruguayan.

"We cannot concentrate on just Luis Suarez, because if he has an off day then there are plenty more players in that team who are capable of winning games," Johnson said.

"We just have to work as a team, stick together and try to pull off a result."

Norwich will be without defender Joseph Yobo because of a calf problem, but captain Sebastien Bassong could be involved again having been left out of the trip to Craven Cottage by Adams, who was promoted from youth team boss after the club sacked Chris Hughton a fortnight ago.

Press Association

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