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Luis Suarez scored his seventh goal in three matches against Norwich City as he helped Liverpool to a 5-0 win at Anfield.
The Uruguay forward, who has scored hat-tricks in his two previous games against Norwich, struck the second after Jordan Henderson had given the home side the lead with a well-taken opener.
New signing Daniel Sturridge became the first Liverpool player since Ray Kennedy in 1974 to score in his first three matches before Steven Gerrard’s strike and Ryan Bennett’s own goal completed the scoring.
Questions had been asked about whether Suarez, who now has 20 goals for the season, and Sturridge could play together and how manager Brendan Rodgers would accommodate the pair. Suarez dropped into a deeper role off the front man but it did not lessen his impact as he was a constant thorn in Norwich’s side.
After a promising 45 minutes in the defeat at Old Trafford last week, the pair continued to build on their fledgling relationship with Sturridge’s awareness and dummy for Suarez’s goal the highlight.
With goalkeeper Jose Reina missing due to a thigh injury, Norwich needed to take advantage but Bennett planted his early free header from Robert Snodgrass’s free-kick straight at stand-in Brad Jones. From that point it was almost one-way traffic with Suarez and Sturridge combining early only for the latter to shoot straight at goalkeeper Mark Bunn.
Suarez was running rings around the visitors - one brilliant backheel left Michael Turner bamboozled - and his low cross-shot was claimed by Bunn at the second attempt at his near post. The South American’s determination played its part in Liverpool’s opener as he held off two crunching tackles before the ball fell to Henderson to drive home first time for only his fourth goal in 74 appearances.
Boosted by his goal the former Sunderland player attempted a swerving 30-yard effort which Bunn held but the goalkeeper was powerless to prevent Suarez making it 2-0 in the 37th minute. Sturridge cleverly allowed Lucas Leiva’s through-ball to pass through his legs for the Uruguayan to run on to and he coolly slotted off the far post with his left foot.
Sturridge also had chances either side of half-time, first firing a narrow-angle shot at the goalkeeper and then missing his kick from close range from Suarez’s pass. Eventually the England forward made up for his misses just before the hour.
Henderson switched the ball out to the right for Stewart Downing to drive a first-time cross for Sturridge to convert from close in. Gerrard then added the fourth from 25 yards, drilling home after Glen Johnson’s burst down the left.
Substitute Raheem Sterling created the fifth as his run and shot was turned into his own net by Bennett.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers: "I couldn't have asked for more. I thought the players were brilliant in their application and attitude. It was a great response [to the Manchester United defeat]. We had a real fluidity in our movement today, in the top end of the field. Equal to that our pressing, and defensively we were very intense in getting the ball back.
"Jordan gets a great goal and that sets us on our way. What a strike it was. Today we equalled the number of home wins from last season, and we've still got a number of months to go. For any team, if you're going to be successful, your home form is vital. We love playing at home. Anfield is a great place to come and play your football. The players are really starting to enjoy coming here, they get a great support and hopefully the supporters are happy with what they are seeing."
"[Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge] linked very, very well. Luis has done what he's done for us all season. He's 100 per cent every game. They are both players who are not just static. Daniel's got pace and power but he's also clever. That was important for us today. It gives the opponent someone else to really worry about. Suarez has been incredible for us this season and has had some young players up there with him, but we've now got a recognised goalscorer up beside him. If you look at the movements between the two of them, the second goal was a wonderful demonstration of how good players can link together.
“Steven Gerrard – the form he was in today. I think he used every club in his bag today, every pass. He was phenomenal. And the goal he scored was trademark Steven Gerrard."
Norwich manager Chris Hughton: "Most [people] are aware we have put in a couple of offers for players. That will be down to the powers that be to decide whether there is any mileage in it. As a squad, numbers-wise, we are okay but if there is the opportunity to add quality to add to what we have got then we will look to do that and I've worked hard to do so. We have made bids for two players. The other clubs will have the say on whether that goes any further than that."
|30 Jan 2013||v Arsenal (A)|
|03 Feb 2013||v Man City (A)|
|11 Feb 2013||v West Brom (H)|
|17 Feb 2013||v Swansea (H)|
|02 Mar 2013||v Wigan (A)|
|10 Mar 2013||v Spurs (H)|