English Premiership

Suarez show nullifies Norwich

2013-12-05 00:01
Luis Suarez (Getty Images)

Liverpool - Luis Suarez has proved once again he is one of the world's finest strikers with four goals that were the cornerstone of Liverpool's 5-1 English Premiership thrashing of Norwich City at Anfield on Wednesday.

The Uruguay striker needed just 34 first-half minutes to smash his hat-trick and added his fourth goal with a spectacular 74th-minute free-kick as Liverpool rampaged back to form.

It was his third hat-trick against Norwich in the last four clashes between the sides and the first time in Premier League history any player has bagged three trebles against the same team.

Suarez lifted his total for the season to 13 goals and proved Liverpool's Premier League title challenge could be maintained without his injured strike partner Daniel Sturridge.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers had demanded an instant response from his side after a dismal 3-1 defeat at Hull City on Sunday, and his players delivered in style at Anfield.

Playmaker Philippe Coutinho returned to the starting line-up against Norwich after only being fit enough for a place on the bench at Hull.

After conceding three goals for the second successive game, Rodgers also switched around his defence, with Kolo Toure axed to make way for Daniel Agger, who was dropped at the KC Stadium.

Liverpool looked nervous in the opening exchanges against a Norwich side fresh from a win over struggling Crystal Palace.

But they soon settled, in the 15th minute, when Suarez broke the deadlock in devastating fashion.

Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy would have been disappointed with a goal-kick that made it only as far as Martin Skrtel. When the centre-half headed the ball straight back towards the Kop end, Suarez allowed it to bounce twice before taking it in his stride to smash a 35-yard right-footed shot past Ruddy.

Suarez's second goal, in the 28th minute, was equally as clinical, although this time he delivered the final blow with his left foot after swivelling just inside the six-yard box to meet Coutinho's corner.

Anfield was positively buzzing just six minutes later when Suarez returned to his right foot to claim the hat-trick. The striker had made Leroy Fer look leaden-footed when he flicked the ball over him on the edge of the box and then drilled his shot low across the box and in at Ruddy's left-hand post.

Liverpool continued to press after the restart and could have added a fourth in the 51st minute when captain Steven Gerrard stooped to head a cross goal-bound, but Ryan Bennett cleared off the line.

Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson, who had fired wide with a long-range effort in the first half, tried his luck again from distance in the 56th minute, but Ruddy tipped the effort over the crossbar.

Suarez was not finished with his hunt for goals, trying to squeeze one in for an acute angle in the 63rd minute, but it drifted inches wide of Ruddy's right-hand post.

He finally added his fourth, in the 73rd minute, stepping up to curl a 25-yard free-kick right-footed over the Norwich wall and beyond Ruddy's dive into the top left corner.

Norwich pulled a goal back in the 83rd minute when Bradley Johnson glanced a header from a deep cross beyond helpless Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.

But Liverpool restored their four-goal lead when Raheem Sterling, who had done little all evening, pounced form close range in the 88th minute.

Liverpool face a tough December, with clashes against Tottenham, Manchester City and Chelsea, so this performance was just what they needed to fire a signal that their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League are still very much alive.

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Southampton v Everton, St. Mary's Stadium 13:45
Stoke City v Tottenham Hotspur, Britannia Stadium 16:00
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