Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers issues warning after victory over Norwich City
Brendan Rodgers had a chilling warning for the Premier League when he predicted Luis Suarez can only get better following the arrival of Daniel Sturridge.
The Canaries were overpowered by a rampant Liverpool spearheaded by a masterful display from the Reds’ new-look frontline.
Sturridge sparkled on his home Premier League debut, which included a second-half close range slot, after Suarez had earlier struck his 20th in 30 games this campaign in the opening period.
Rodgers believes the arrival of Sturridge has added an extra dimension to Suarez’s game after the Canaries felt the full force of his modern-day SAS partnership.
“Yes they linked very, very well and both deserved to get on the scoresheet,” he said.
“I think it gives the opponents someone else to really worry about. Suarez has been incredible and he had some young players up there with him, but in Daniel you have now got a recognised striker up beside him.
“You look at the movements between them. The second goal was a wonderful demonstration of how good players can link together.
“It was great vision from Daniel to see the run of Luis coming from the outside and great weight of pass from Lucas. I’ve seen them training and in the early parts that combination has been great.
“Luis has done here what he did for us the whole season. He combined really well with Daniel up front. We had a real fluidity to our movement today because they are both players who are not static. They have pace and power and Daniel is also clever.”
Rodgers also reserved special praise for his old guard, with stalwarts Steven Gerrard and the recalled Jamie Carragher the heartbeat of a home romp.
“Behind those two up front you see the form Steven was in. I think he used every club in the bag,” said the Northern Irishman. “He was phenomenal and scored a goal only Steven Gerrard can score.
Jamie Carragher has not put a foot wrong since I have been in here. He has been absolutely brilliant in my time. He probably hasn’t played as often as he would like and I hoped not to put a curse on him but I couldn’t remember him making a mistake in the games since I have been here and I told him that before this game.
“I was just hoping today was not the day. We are a quiet team and he is a great organiser, he has big experience and he is someone who manages the game for us. I just thought him coming in alongside Daniel (Agger) would give us that extra bit of leadership.”
Rodgers’ pinpointed Jordan Henderson’s breakthrough as the key moment in finally breaching a stubborn Canaries’ outfit.
“Obviously we needed to find that goal early on,” he said. “That was important for us because Norwich is a tough team, tough to break down and to play against. Chris (Hughton) has done a terrific job.
“They have really turned a corner since we played them last and went on a real resilient run so we knew what was in store. The first goal was very important and Jordan gets a really good goal for us and then I think our flow was good.
“It was terrific play from Luis who wriggled his way free on the edge of the box and the ball dropped for Jordan. What a great finish. Once you get that, it gives us the confidence and Norwich have to come out and look for the game more so the spaces open up. Once we got the goal we controlled and managed the game very well. We scored some outstanding goals. The fluidity of the team was good going forward but defensively in our pressing of the ball we showed an intensity and an aggressiveness.”
Liverpool’s win moved them firmly contention into the pack chasing those European places, but Rodgers’ main focus is gradual improvements; which may also bring a further foray into the transfer market.
“I see lots of names speculated. I could sit here all night talking about the names but even if there was substance I wouldn’t say,” he said. “We just want to bring in good players, build the squad and make it competitive and keep players on the toes and fighting for their place. This was a terrific performance and they need to do that many more times.
“The home form is very important and now we have equalled the number of home wins from last season, with a few months to go.
“For any team who wants to be successful or even just to stay in this great league that is key. For us, we love playing at Anfield.
“It is a great place to come and play your football and I think the players are really starting to enjoy coming here, with a great support and hopefully the fans are happy with what they are seeing. That combination is important.”