Saturday 24 March 2018

Holt soars for Canaries as wasteful Reds denied

The frustration ran deep at Anfield as this game drew to a close. If this side is to compete for the title, or even qualify for the Champions League, they know they need to put away teams at home.

Having taken the lead, through Craig Bellamy, and hitting the woodwork three times, they looked like a team in control. Norwich had other ideas. At times they were overrun, with Luis Suarez causing mayhem. They are made of resilient stuff, though, and kept patiently putting together their moves when they could.

With an hour played, their commitment brought an equaliser, thanks to substitute Grant Holt. Considering not a single member of Norwich's first XI played in the Premier League last season, they showed admirable composure.

Dalglish was bold in his selection, playing Kuyt and Suarez up front with Stewart Downing cutting in from the right and Craig Bellamy scampering down the left. Sure enough, Liverpool started quickly, running towards the Kop.

Before two minutes had been played Martin Skrtel sent a thumping header against the bar from Charlie Adam's corner. Norwich had no time to gather their composure. Bellamy darted down the left and played a low pass across the box, perfect for Suarez. The Uruguayan, using the pace of the ball, side-footed towards goal but John Ruddy, the Norwich goalkeeper, flung himself to his left and diverted it against the post. Downing, following up, hooked the ball wide.

Having survived those early attacks, Norwich began to pull themselves together and realised there would be space to exploit. Steve Morison's flick gave Wes Hoolahan a sight of goal; Pepe Reina dealt with it.

Liverpool swiftly reasserted themselves. Suarez had two decent chances, first put in by Glen Johnson and then by a cute, chipped Gerrard pass.

The momentum was building and just when Norwich thought they had made it to half-time, Bellamy struck. Jose Enrique played a ball from deep on the left and Suarez got on the wrong side of Russell Martin. The pair tangled but referee Peter Walton played advantage. The ball hit Martin and dropped for Bellamy who delayed his shot and when he finally did strike it, the ball ricocheted off Marc Tierney and into the net.

Liverpool resumed with intent and had soon hit the woodwork for a third time. Suarez spun towards goal and shifted past Barnett but his effort deflected off Martin and on to the post. Norwich were in danger of losing any handle on this game but five minutes after Holt's entrance -- they equalised.

Anthony Pilkington found space on the right and sent in a curving cross that tempted Reina off his line. Holt timed his jump perfectly to get above Jamie Carragher and head into the abandoned net.

Having looked in control, Liverpool were now panicky. The ball was too easily given away and on 65 minutes they nearly went behind. Again the home defence look vulnerable from the wide ball and Holt, unmarked, was given a free header at the far post. Reina's reactions saved Liverpool.

Liverpool ramped up the intensity, with Andy Carroll replacing Downing. Kyle Naughton's mistake let Kuyt in and he went for the shot when, again, the pass was probably the better option. Adam then beat two men on the left, nearly drawing Barnett into conceding a penalty.

It carried on into stoppage-time. First Carroll headed wide from Gerrard's cross and then Suarez was again denied by the superb Ruddy, who pushed his volley wide.


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