Luis Suarez - Our Three Goal Hero Sets Norwich Alight
Yesterday was one of those days that will remain in the memory not only of Liverpool supporters for many years to come. It was of course the day that Luis Suarez announced to the watching football world that he is back to his best.
The day weather-wise was not one of the best and as the team arrived in Norwich they were greeted by a good old fashioned East Anglian down pour? A down pour, that could quite possibly change the how the game was played in terms of speed and the players chosen.
Unbeknown to us at this point in time Kenny had already done that and the resulting team sheet led to the usual questions being asked about the omission of two players. These players were Martin Skrtel and Andy Carroll. Now Martin I suspect was being rested with the view that he will be needed not only for the midweek game against Fulham but also the FA Cup Final on Saturday. Andy, we were told has a slight groin strain, but I get the feeling there is a lot more to that than we are being told.
The players of course brought into replace them were Jamie Carragher and Craig Bellamy. Jamie of course has become the butt of abuse for the simple reason in football terms he is getting old and his pace has slowed down. He is still a Liverpool player though, and we the supporters must get behind him until the day he hangs up his boots. Craig I suspect, was brought in because he understands and links up with Luis Suarez well.
Earlier in the season Norwich had come to Anfield and due to the heroics of goalkeeper John Ruddy and striker Grant Holt, ensured that they left not only with the points tally but also the headlines that day.
There was no way Kenny would allow that to happen again, which I guess had something also to do with his team selection and formation. He was also I am sure aware that Everton are not only going through a goal fest at the moment, but that they are above us in the Premiership table. As every Liverpool supporter will tell you, this must not be allowed to happen.
What he did not know of course as the team made their way out onto a rain-sodden pitch was that the afternoon would end with his main striker possibly now in the running for a goal of the season award.
The game itself was slow to begin with as both teams struggled to find their feet, but it was Liverpool that soon showed who was going to be in charge of the proceedings that afternoon. Whether it was because those in the team knew that their FA Cup Final places were at stake or whether it was because the good Liverpool team had turned up, but we were witnessing some fantastic football being played. The passing and the speed of the ball was fantastic, even though the conditions were dire, and it did not take long for Liverpool and Luis Suarez to let the watching crowd know that they were there to win the game.
The match had barely reached the twenty fourth minute mark when David Fox dithered over the ball long enough to allow Stevie G to dispossess him and sent the ball with a reverse kick thundering towards Luis Suarez, who then sent a thundering shot with his left foot, towards John Ruddy. The goalkeeper did not stand a chance of stopping the ball and goal number one was in the back of the net.
Liverpool was now in total control of the game and four minutes later, Norwich were made to pay for yet another mistake. Kyle Naughton who had moved into to the left back position after Adam Drury had been injured and miss-kicked a back pass to Elliott Ward. Luis Suarez, who had been lurking on the flanks ran in, dispossessed him and with an fantastic angle sent the ball goal bound towards John Ruddy, who again just looked on in awe as the ball found the back of the net. Liverpool was now two goals to the good and with Norwich crumbling it was not a case of if they would score again but when.
Paul Lambert who had worked miracles with the team since his arrival at Norwich was not going to give up that easy and after half time and a couple of changes in personnel, his team did all they could to try and turn the game around.
Pepe Reina, who had literally watched from the side-lines as the drama unfolded in front of him, was called into action for the first time, when a ball from Elliot Bennett had to be tipped away from the goal.
With both teams now in the thick of the action it was the turn of young Jonjo Shelvey to do, what Liverpool know how to do best. He picked up a ball and at close range shot towards the goal, only to see it hit the post. Having recovered from this, seconds later, he was in thick of the action once again. This time though, with an open goalmouth, he picked up a ball and it was sent wide.
Now I don't know whether this is to do possibly with him suffering from nerves or just inexperience. But having watched him closely since his return from Blackpool, given the time and the experience he will hopefully gain from being around the senior players, he will evolve into one of Liverpool's great players.
This seemed to signal to Norwich once again that perhaps they could still quite possibly turn the game around. With fifteen minutes left on the clock, James Vaughan sent a header towards Pepe only to see it saved but Paul Lambert then introduced local hero Grant Holt from the substitutes bench hoping that he would do the damage required to ensure a home win.
What nobody realised at that point in time was that Luis Suarez was about to ensure his name went into the Liverpool Football Club history books.
Elliott Ward had picked up the ball, but then carelessly let it go only for Luis Suarez, who had already noted that John Ruddy was off his line, to pick up and send a fantastic shot 50 yards into the back of the net.
Liverpool went into the dressing room worthy winners and with Luis Suarez now back to his best, have issued a warning to Chelsea that next Saturday's FA Cup Final at Anfield South, is not going to be the walk over they believe it will be. In fact Liverpool I am sure will do everything to ensure the cup is taken back to the North West rather than to South East London.