Norwich City as difficult as Manchester United - Dalglish
Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish has urged his players not to underestimate Norwich City in tomorrow’s Premier League late kick-off.
The Canaries have given Chelsea and Manchester United a fright on their own territory in the opening weeks of the season before returning home empty-handed, and Dalglish has seen enough to be on his guard at Anfield (5.30pm).
“I don’t know what other people expect, but I know what we do. We expect as difficult a game against Norwich as Manchester United gave us last week,” he said.
“Paul Lambert has done a fantastic job there. They are sitting there pretty comfortable in the league in ninth position. They went to Old Trafford and played very well.
“I’m sure they will be looking forward to coming here and doing equally well. They’ve done brilliantly.”
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Lambert, pitting his managerial wits against his one-time Celtic boss, will be heartened by the way his side performed at Stamford Bridge and Old Trafford but keen to gain some reward from their third date with one of the Premier League’s big guns, as Dalglish is well aware.
“The players and personnel may be new but for us it’s straightforward,” he said. “We’ll give them every bit as much respect as we did against Manchester United or Everton the week before.
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“We will never be disrespectful and underestimate the opposition. That includes Norwich and anyone else that we have to play.
“I knew Paul from my time at Celtic and I have huge respect for him as a footballer and also as a manager.”
One encouraging factor for City is that Liverpool have not kept a clean sheet in four league games at Anfield this season.
“If you don’t lose any goals, you’ll get at least a point from the game,” said Dalglish.
“But we are happy with most of the things we have done. We just have to keep pushing on. As long as we score more than we have against us, we’ll win more games than we’ll lose.”
Barring any late injury news at today’s press conference at Colney, it seems likely the Canaries will be able to rely on the same starting line-up as in their previous four games, three of which have brought victories.
Defender Zak Whitbread’s absence from the reserve game against Aston Villa on Tuesday night suggests he has not recovered sufficiently from the hamstring injury he suffered at Chelsea eight weeks ago to be available for the visit to his former club.
Striker Grant Holt, whose last three first team outings have come from the substitutes’ bench, will make his 100th appearance for the Canaries if he plays at some stage tomorrow.
Liverpool are without Brazilian midfielder Lucas Leiva, who is suspended after five yellow cards, and back-up goalkeeper Alexander Doni, who damaged a finger in the 1-0 friendly defeat at Rangers, while full-back Jack Robinson is also likely to be missing.
England full-back Glen Johnson is fit for selection however, after recovering from a hamstring injury.
Dalglish meanwhile, has issued a robust defence of Luis Suarez after the striker was accused of racism.
After the 1-1 draw with Manchester United, Patrice Evra claimed in an interview with Canal Plus that Suarez had verbally abused him on a number of occasions during the game. Suarez immediately refuted the allegations, which the FA are investigating.
But Dalglish, wearing a badge promoting anti-racism organisation Kick It Out’s One Game, One Community cam-paign – of which the game against Norwich is part – fully backed the player.
He also rejected suggestions by United counterpart Sir Alex Ferguson, made after the game, the Uruguayan was a diver.
“The only thing I will say – and then it is put to bed – is that the football club and everyone at the football club is totally and utterly fully behind Luis Suarez,” said Dalglish. “There was an allegation after the game about him diving all over the place and there was an allegation from Patrice Evra. The two things are emotive but we support the wee man on both things.”