Striker Luis Suarez scored a hat-trick at rainswept Carrow Road to condemn Norwich City to their third successive Premier League defeat.

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The controversial Uruguayan struck twice in the space of four minutes in the first half to give the FA Cup finalists a firm grip on the game, then completed his treble by floating in an amazing goal from just inside the Norwich half eight minutes from time.

All three goals came following bad errors, by David Fox, Kyle Naughton and Elliott Ward, but in truth the Canaries were comfortably outclassed and could have been looking at another Manchester City scoreline had Suarez and Jonjo Shelvey not spurned further chances in the second half.

It was the first time City had lost three successive league games under manager Paul Lambert, and continued their dismal run in front of the TV cameras, with just one win in 11 “live” games this season.

City showed five changes after the 2-0 defeat by Blackburn, with skipper Grant Holt not introduced until the final quarter of an hour.

A crowd of 26,819 watched a game played in driving rain, an all-seater record for the stadium and the biggest home crowd since 1983, but most of them will not have enjoyed it.

Lambert made five changes, with Kyle Naughton recalled at full-back, David Fox and Bradley Johnson returning in midfield, Anthony Pilkington back in a wide role and Steve Morison making his first start since the defeat at Fulham.

Out went Russell Martin, Andrew Surman, Wes Hoolahan, James Vaughan and skipper Grant Holt, all of whom were among the substitutes.

Liverpool also made five changes after the 1-0 home defeat by West Bromwich Albion. Skipper Steven Gerrard returned after a hamstring niggle, while Jamie Carragher, Jonjo Shelvey, ex-Canary Craig Bellamy and Stewart Downing were also back.

Out went Martin Skrtel, Jay Spearing, Maxi Rodriguez, and Dirk Kuyt, all of whom were on the bench, and striker Andy Carroll, not even on the bench.

The Canaries were playing their 200th Premier League game, and the afternoon results meant that at kick-off they were still looking for the point that would make them mathematically certain of another season in the top flight.

Elliott Ward led City out as captain for the penultimate home game of the season, which got under way in steady rain on a slippery surface.

In the opening minute, Fox needed attention for a bang on the head when he ducked low for the ball and was caught by Shelvey’s boot.

Pilkington looked sharp as he moved on to Bradley Johnson’s pass but lost his footing at the vital moment.

Ryan Bennett and Drury both tidied up neatly as Liverpool threatened, but there was a blow for City after just eight minutes when Drury pulled up sharply with what appeared to be a groin problem and left the field, heading straight down the tunnel.

With City down to 10 men, Pilkington had a clear opening on the left but his cross to the far post was cut out.

Russell Martin was eventually sent on to replace Drury, with Naughton switching to left-back.

A foul by Henderson on Elliott Bennett gave Norwich a free-kick close to the right corner flag, but Fox’s ball was an easy catch for Reina.

Agger made a timely interception as Martin got forward for the first time, sliding in to cut out his low cross.

Liverpool moved ahead in the 24th minute, however, as they cashed in on an error by Fox.

Fox took Martin’s pass but was caught in possession by Gerrard and the skipper slipped the ball inside for Suarez, who struck a powerful left-foot shot across Ruddy into the top corner.

It was almost 2-0 when Suarez broke on the right and crossed to Gerrard, whose effort from 12 yards struck Ryan Bennett and flew wide.

But with 28 minutes gone, Suarez doubled the lead after another dreadful error. Naughton tried to pass back to Ward on the left touchline but left it well short and Suarez beat Ward in the challenge and drilled a perfectly-placed shot out of reach of Ruddy.

Suarez was claiming a penalty seven minutes before the break when he tangled with Ward, but referee Halsey was unimpressed.

City’s confusion at the back was underlined when an effort by Johnson was allowed to slip through to Suarez but he failed to control it and the home side escaped.

Two minutes before the break, Ward was booked for bringing down Suarez after a mistake by Ryan Bennett left City in trouble, Bellamy firing the resulting free-kick over the top.

Howson was also shown the yellow card in first-half stoppage time for a blatant block on Gerrard.

• Half-time: Norwich City 0, Liverpool 2

City made their second change at the interval when Vaughan was sent on in place of Fox, and they reverted to a diamond formation.

The Canaries forced three corners early in the second half, Pilkington taking all three, but they were unable to create a worthwhile chance from any of them.

Five minutes after the break, Reina was finally given something to do when he dived to his right to push away Elliott Bennett’s 20-yard shot. Johnson headed wide from Pilkington’s corner when he might have done better.

There was an escape at then other end, however, when Suarez connected with Downing’s cross but Ryan Bennett made an important block, Shelvey heading against the bar from the rebound.

Downing then shot over after Suarez teed him up and, remarkably, Shelvey missed an open goal, clearing the bar as he slid in to meet Jose Enrique’s cross.

Elliott Bennett tried his luck from even further out but this time he was well off target.

Gerrard’s diagonal pass set Downing off on a twisting run that might have brought a third goal, but Ruddy got down to his right to make a fine save from the winger’s shot.

Suarez might have completed his hat-trick after 63 minutes after Ward and Ryan Bennett both made errors, but in attempting to float the ball over Ruddy, he also cleared the bar.

Howson cleared off the line from a glancing header by Agger as City continued to creak at the back and, at the other end, Vaughan was booked for tripping goalkeeper Reina.

Vaughan fired wide with a shot on the turn but it was a rare threat from the Canaries, who still faced an uphill battle with 20 minutes left.

Ryan Bennett earned City’s fourth yellow card for a foul on Suarez.

Vaughan flashed a header wide from Russell Martin’s cross and, with just under a quarter of an hour to go, Morison made way for Holt.

Johnson fired over from long range but his effort was never going to trouble Reina.

Vaughan had a shot blocked by Carragher, but with eight minutes left, Suarez completed his hat-trick with an incredible goal, scored from only just inside the Norwich half.

A long ball out of defence found Ward on halfway, unable to control as Suarez whipped the ball away, and from fully 50 yards he floated the ball over Ruddy as the keeper furiously backpedalled, but in vain.

A Liverpool fan, for want of a better word, ran on to the pitch to join in the celebrations.

• Result: Norwich City 0, Liverpool 3

• Norwich City: Ruddy, Naughton, Ryan Bennett, Ward, Drury (Russell Martin, 12); Elliott Bennett, Fox (Vaughan, 45), Howson, Bradley Johnson, Pilkington; Morison (Holt, 76). Subs: Steer, Surman, Hoolahan, Wilbraham.

• Liverpool: Reina; Glen Johnson, Carragher, Agger, Jose Enrique; Henderson; Downing, Shelvey, Gerrard (Coates, 85), Bellamy; Suarez (Kuyt, 85). Subs (not used): Doni, Kelly, Skrtel, Spearing, Maxi Rodriguez.

• Referee: Mark Halsey (Lancashire)

• Attendance: 26,819

• Goals: Liverpool: Suarez (24, 28, 82)

• Bookings: City: Ward (43), Howson (45), Vaughan (66), Ryan Bennett (71)

28 comments

  • OK it was a bad defeat, hopefully PL can turn things around. What was much more upsetting to me was the idiot sitting behind me in the stand screaming "witty" comments about Hillsborough. We can do without this kind of numpty thank you very much!

    Report this comment

    DocOhNo

    Sunday, April 29, 2012

  • Each position in the league we finish higher we earn cash. I can't understand why we have switched off. Lets face some facts here. Great first season, but very hard second season to come. New players are needed and a good clear out of players who are not good enough has to take place to create funds to buy and funds to pay better players. Drury, great servant now to old so has to go. Hoolahan, no work rate and if you watch every game gives little in the big games. How many games have we won with him playing? Fox, plain and simply not good enough. Ditto Croft, Vaughan, Wilbrham, Surman and Morison. It is not an over reaction it is based on evidence from all games watched. I know it is expensive to replace these players but we have to try. Jarvis from Wolves. Rated at 6 million. Have to go for it. Players from lower leagues do a good job but as we are seeing they will get found out. You have to buy some quality to help these players develop. No club has stayed up for an extended period of time and not bought big. That is a fact. We would all like to think that we can do that but in reality we won't. Yes, other clubs have bought big and gone down but I feel it is a gamble we need to take.

    Report this comment

    Gazza

    Sunday, April 29, 2012

  • Cheer up everybody! This is not the end of the world - we went through that 3 years ago! For all the whinging that's been going on over a few reverses, this is the first run of three consecutive defeats (and it may well be 4 by this weekend!) that we have suffered in the prem - and there have only been 4 occasions when we have lost 2 on the trot! All this urging St Paul to buy new players - of course he will, when he can! But he can't do anything at the moment, as the transfer window is firmly shut. You know he won't tell us his plans - why on earth should he? But inhim I trust - he has nevber let us down yet, and I'm sure he's not about to start now! Where's MB by the way? haven't seen a post from him recently - is everything being ethered?

    Report this comment

    The Crab

    Monday, April 30, 2012

  • Well I for one think that Algarve speaks good sense.

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    Lobbo

    Sunday, April 29, 2012

  • Let's be honest,we weren't just beaten, we were thrashed. A Man City type scoreline would not have flattered Liverpool. R Bennet is clearly someway off the finished article, and Ward is best suited to a lower league.Whitbread and Ayala have been sorely missed. Morrison is well out of touch, and was a suprise starter. Gone was the neat, close interplay from early season, Thought Pilks and Howson did well. We need to get in at least 4 in the summer,

    Report this comment

    canarydownunder

    Sunday, April 29, 2012

  • Before we start getting too depressed, lets look at the bigger picture. NCFC have, against the opinion of all the pundits, not been relegated. The majority of goals recently scored against them have been scored by truly world class strikers - Tevez, Aquero and Suarez OTBC - ILWT

    Report this comment

    Captain

    Monday, April 30, 2012

  • What was pl doing not the best line up why Morrison over holt no wes if we need this 1 point for safety surely you should play the best it seems the best were on the bench beaten by the better team today OTBC

    Report this comment

    Spud

    Saturday, April 28, 2012

  • It isn't just 3 defeats to Man City, Blackburn + Liverpool though is it? We've lost 6 out of the last 10 games. We hailed the Spurs victory as the icing on the cake, but it's actually proved to be a bread and butter result, because those 3 points have ended up keeping us out of relegation danger. Morison is no replacement for Holty. If he's going to be our main threat up front next season, we may as well start preparing for life in the Chumpionship now. I hope we can have an over-haul in the summer. " Defenders who aren't injury prone" would be top of my list as a starting point.

    Report this comment

    Timbo

    Sunday, April 29, 2012

  • THAT WAS APPALLING! We were 20% worse than Liverpool in every department!! We start without an attack....a defensive lineup that collapsed....and we still dont bring on Holt and Vaughan. Pepe Reiner never had a touch in the first half!! Has our team started its summer holiday early because that was pathetic!! We have played like a relegation team since the Leicester game. At this rate we will be nailed on favourites for relegation next season unless we get a decent striker, and sort out that defence. The early season honeymoon is over. This is our reality, unless Lambert acts!!!

    Report this comment

    Algarve Canary

    Saturday, April 28, 2012

  • Ref ethering, Crab; yes, pretty much. Specially PD columns. Tedious.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Tuesday, May 1, 2012

  • Well.. I feel the warm glow of self-justification flowing thru my body ( But I'm not really enjoying being right). I expressed disappointment @ the downward slide after Man City + was lambasted as disloyal + told to support 1p5wich by certain factions on here. I cannot figure out this policy of playing Morison as a lone striker ( especially given his somewhat "modest" energy output). I would urge a "Morison's sale" come the summer Mr.L. I think we will be safe but will probly finish 1 or 2 places above the relegation slots. By the way MARK ( followed by several random numbers). Gone very quiet all of a sudden haven't we? Why don't YOU try supporting 1p5wich ??? Or perhaps you always did...

    Report this comment

    Timbo

    Saturday, April 28, 2012

  • Possibly the worst I've seen city play all season, along with the 3-0 defeat by Sunderland. We were abysmal. Despite that, even finishing 17th this year will be a success. I just hope we don't carry this form into next season, or else we're relegation fodder. OTBC

    Report this comment

    chirpy

    Saturday, April 28, 2012

  • Is that 6 points from a possible 33 in front of the cameras? Hope we spend that tv cash on some defenders in the summer

    Report this comment

    David Curle

    Saturday, April 28, 2012

  • My expectations are modest when we play the big teams, and rightly so..but we have all come to expect the lads to go out there and give it their all, and I feel that's been lacking a bit in recent games. They've had a long hard season, and maybe its catching up with them, mentally and physically. Im so glad we had a good first half of the season! On recent form we would have almost certainly been in the relegation battle. Money needs to be spent and changes made pre season to avoid the second season syndrome. Morrison has had a pretty awful second half season, and I have no idea how he's getting starts. When was his last goal? He lost his hunger, and his playing ability alone can't cut it in the premier.. We really need more strike power.. We've been unlucky with our injury plagued defence all season, and Lambo needs to strengthen that area too. With all that said and done, we'll be here next season to have another go! OTBC! & ILWT

    Report this comment

    Norfolk'n'good

    Sunday, April 29, 2012

  • Another result another load of drivel from Algarve regarding his 'superior knowledge' and career in 'sports journalism'. City do seem to have run out of steam, but fortunately the season is 38 games long not just 10. We can't make these mistakes in defense and hope to get away with it. Great first season, beyond our wildest dreams, you don't need a open university degree in sports journalism to appreciate that.

    Report this comment

    The Yellow Yachtie

    Sunday, April 29, 2012

  • What was pl doing not the best line up why Morrison over holt no wes if we need this 1 point for safety surely you should play the best it seems the best were on the bench beaten by the better team today OTBC

    Report this comment

    Spud

    Saturday, April 28, 2012

  • Dubai Canary

    Saturday, April 28, 2012

  • We made 3 mistakes and got punished on all 3. All of the goals were world class. It wasn't a great performance, but as we are already safe this is what I was expecting the performances to be like. These 3 defeats too Man City, Blackburn, Liverpool is hardly bad is it.

    Report this comment

    Samuel Walden

    Saturday, April 28, 2012

  • players cant be tired because they have not played every game,especially the midfielders,so that cant be an excuse!can we play with two goalkeepers next week?lol.

    Report this comment

    tonyb

    Sunday, April 29, 2012

  • I really do hope that messers Lambert and Culverhouse read these comments, especially the one by Norfolk'n'Good, because we are all Norwich supporters, and show genuine concern, not just fan hysterics. I spent most of my career, in and around sports broadcasting, so try to be objective. I'm concerned that our recent showing will deter any really talented player joining us next season. How will Gunter and Rhodes, et-al view Norwich as a career prospect now? To quote the Mail on Sunday, " Norwich City's season has understandably run out of steam" I fear we will start 201213 as relegation favourites. On current form, we will deserve to be!

    Report this comment

    Algarve Canary

    Sunday, April 29, 2012

  • Great result !!!!! Just in case we ended the season thinking we were good, (remember all that talk of whether or not the Europa League would be a good or bad thing) this really does make the powers that be truly know that if we want to survive in the Premier League action needs to taken. If we had won today, or even drawn, some people might of thought all we need to do is tweak one or two things NOT SO !!!!!!

    Report this comment

    Lobbo

    Saturday, April 28, 2012

  • Gazza, I think you left out Barnett & Ward too.

    Report this comment

    Dubai Canary

    Monday, April 30, 2012

  • A really poor performance again...where's the team spirit gone? Has this bunch of players peaked? Bring on the break - don't expect anything from the Emirates - we need to beat Villa just to carry some momentum into next season. Need to spend some money too...OTBC!

    Report this comment

    JMH

    Saturday, April 28, 2012

  • What was pl doing not the best line up why Morrison over holt no wes if we need this 1 point for safety surely you should play the best it seems the best were on the bench beaten by the better team today OTBC

    Report this comment

    Spud

    Saturday, April 28, 2012

  • Really disappointing to see things crumbling towards the end of the season in a way that we have seen before. The last two seasons have been fantastic, the team succeeded because they clearly had such a drive to win that they carried it all the way through to the end of stoppage time. Now after a great firrst half of the season, we seem to have lost the will to win and are getting picked apart. It is really tough to turn the slide around but I trust PL to do it. OTBC.

    Report this comment

    Swiss Canary

    Monday, April 30, 2012

  • Our season seems to have gone the same way as the weather. Thankfully a few teams at the bottom played poorly for the majority of the season. Not mathematically safe yet as if Aston Villa, Wigan, QPR and Bolton all win all of their remaining games they will reach our current total of 43 points, no more no less. Given that is extremely unlikely one wonders what changes will be made in the summer.

    Report this comment

    Capri

    Saturday, April 28, 2012

  • The players appeared to approach this game as if they were trying not to lose rather than trying to win. No Premier team can thrive on such an approach, as it's almost impossible to soak up pressure and maintain coherence over 90mins: There are too many skilled individuals that will punish any weakness or mistake. We've stepped up to a level above every independent pundit's expectations, but found it hard to maintain. What a learning experience this season has been. Further strengthening of the squad is certainly needed for the next step up to mid-table stability, but I think we can still look forward to improvements in many young individual's performances next season and beyond, so wholesale changes aren't necessary. We also have a debt of gratitude to the whole squad for putting us in the position where a few poor performances doesn't put our place in the Premier League at risk. If it's six in, six out again this Summer, all the leavers will rightly attract good interest from elsewhere.

    Report this comment

    Robin Hood

    Monday, April 30, 2012

  • Awful performance, awful weather too. Probably the worst first 45 minutes we have played all season. PL seemed to have got it tactically wrong and the selections were questionable too. Three goals from three sloppy defensive errors says it all. Last three performances have been below par, but no signs of improvement is worrying. I fear for us at The Emirates next week - if we don't toughen up Arsenal are going to put us to the sword. Thanks heavens we are not deep in the relegation dog-fight. OTBC

    Report this comment

    Dubai Canary

    Saturday, April 28, 2012

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