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