Norwich City freeze at Liverpool

Ryan Bennett looks dejected after scoring an own goal to hand Liverpool their fifth goal. Picture: D

Ryan Bennett looks dejected after scoring an own goal to hand Liverpool their fifth goal. Picture: Dave Rawcliffe / Focus Images - Credit: Dave Rawcliffe/Focus Images Ltd

Saturday was a day when it was cold enough to freeze the proverbials off a brass monkey. It was also the day when Norwich City lost 5-0 to Liverpool at Anfield.

1,800 brave Canary fans defied the cold weather conditions and made their way to Liverpool to support their team. They saw Liverpool put on an excellent attacking performance which Norwich were unable to match.

When the teams were announced the major surprise was that Bassong was missing from the City line up. Presumably he has a minor injury. Ryan Bennett replaced him in the heart of the defence. Howson started in place of Hoolahan, and Elliott Bennett in place of Pilkington. Holt replaced Jackson up front. £12million Sturridge made his home debut for the Reds.

City had the first chance after six minutes when Snodgrass’ free kick found Ryan Bennett, but the defender’s header was straight into the arms of keeper Jones. Holt was prominent in the City attack as the Canaries, playing 4-4-2, matched their illustrious hosts in the first twenty minutes. But the dam broke after 26 minutes. On this occasion that man Suarez did not dive but held off Howson’s challenge and evaded Elliott Bennett to tee up Henderson, whose superb half volley gave Bunn no chance. The second goal came ten minutes later. Sturridge allowed Lucas’ pass to run through his legs and Suarez ran onto the ball, did not dive, but shot into the corner of the goal giving Bunn no chance.

Liverpool continued their onslaught in the second half. Their third goal came after 60 minutes. Sturridge at the far post turned in Downing’s volleyed centre. Immediately afterwards Hoolahan replaced Elliott Bennett, but the goal avalanche continued. Gerrard scored the fourth with a low drive from way outside the box after 66 minutes, and Ryan Bennett turned Sterling’s centre into his own net after 74 minutes. Pilkington came on for Snodgrass with four minutes remaining.

So that was that. Liverpool put five goals past Norwich for the second time this season. At least this time Suarez did not score a hat trick. And no praise is too high for the travelling City fans who kept encouraging their team until the very end with choruses of “On the Ball City”. They even drew praise from the tannoy announcer at Anfield.

Norwich have now taken a solitary one point out of their last 18. That is relegation form. We badly need Bassong back to command our defence, and it is clear that we miss Ruddy’s commanding presence in the box.

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No news yet on Hooper or Graham riding in with the US Cavalry to help the Canary cause. Let us pray for an improvement in results…very soon. Viewers of BBC’s MOTD will have seen Alan Hansen sitting next to Delia at Anfield and assumed that he was asking her for recipes for Burns’ Night. I hope that in return she asked him to don a Yellow shirt for the rest of the season to help out the Norwich defence.