Reds rediscover ruthlessness in front of goal in 5-4 Norwich thriller


Liverpool’s crazy 5-4 victory over Norwich City infuriated with a shambolic defensive display, but it was the welcome return of killer instinct in front of goal that proved the difference at Carrow Road.

NORWICH, ENGLAND - Friday, January 22, 2016: Liverpool's Adam Lallana celebrates scoring the fifth, and winning, goal against Norwich City to seal a late 5-4 victory with manager Jürgen Klopp during the Premiership match at Carrow Road. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Meetings between Liverpool and Norwich at Carrow Road have had a habit of producing goal-crazy affairs in recent seasons.

15 had been scored in the last three East Anglia meetings, in fact, but despite the recent goal-fests, few would have predicted the breathless nine-goal thriller that unfolded – especially with both side’s form heading into the game.

It was a performance from Jurgen Klopp’s Reds that infuriated and exhilarated in equal measure, but vitally, it was one that saw a long-overdue return to Liverpool being clinical in front of goal.


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Limited Chances

NORWICH, ENGLAND - Friday, January 22, 2016: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino scores the first goal against Norwich City during the Premiership match at Carrow Road. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The Reds were second best for large parts at Carrow Road, unable to grab a foothold in the game and seeing goal-scoring chances restricted as a result.

From the off, Alex Neil’s side were in the faces of Klopp’s men, who were swarmed and pinned on the back-foot by a determined home side desperate to ease their growing relegation fears.

Norwich’s relentless energy out-pressed Liverpool, leaving the Reds without a foothold in the contest, unable to enjoy sustained possession or win the midfield battle, ahead of a defence who yet again handed out dreadful goals with “rubbish” defending, as Klopp described it.

Opportunities were in short supply for Klopp’s side as they struggled to establish positive rhythm or momentum in their play – the Reds’ lowly 48% of possession and 75% pass completion contributing heavily to their lack of dominance.

The familiar consequence left the Reds leaking goals at one end, and struggling to create at the other – despite the score-line telling a false story of an end-to-end game of high-quality attacking football.

Roberto Firmino was isolated for the most part, with Jordon Ibe and James Milner struggling to provide support which saw Adam Lallana improved when later introduced.

But the Brazilian showed he’s really finding his feet at Anfield, playing a vital role as he finds the form that prompted his £21.3million summer move.

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NORWICH, ENGLAND - Friday, January 22, 2016: Norwich City's Dieumercik Mbokani scores the first equalising goal against Liverpool during the Premiership match at Carrow Road. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

This was in stark contrast to Norwich, who attacked in numbers causing numerous ‘nearly’ moments and reaped the rewards with Dieumerci Mbokani, Steven Naismith, and Sebastian Bassong’s efforts, with Wes Hoolahan scoring from the spot.

Few genuine chances came Liverpool’s way over the course of 90 minutes, but those that did were converted in the ruthless manner Klopp has long called for.


Ruthless Reds

NORWICH, ENGLAND - Friday, January 22, 2016: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino scores the third goal against Norwich City during the Premiership match at Carrow Road. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Saturday’s thriller showed like no other that if you take chances, you win games.

Thankfully, Liverpool did exactly that despite their best efforts to help Norwich in their relegation fight.

With two clear chances, Firmino converted both, finishing well on his left foot, before Jordan Henderson’s clinical, well-taken volley offered hope of a comeback for the Reds that Firmino completed in expert fashion as he slotted home delicately in the box on his right.

Three shots on target for Klopp’s side, three goals.

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Having missed a guilt-edged chance at 1-0 – the only clear wasted in the game – Milner made no mistake second time round, calmly slotting home when one-on-one, before Lallana’s scuffed volley netted the killer fifth with just the seventh shot on target the Reds mustered.

Five goals from seven shots, and only one clear chance passed up – Klopp’s calls to show more confidence in front of goal were answered emphatically.

NORWICH, ENGLAND - Friday, January 22, 2016: Liverpool's James Milner scores the fourth goal against Norwich City during the Premiership match at Carrow Road. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Most pleasing was the composure and decisiveness of each finish, as well as the conviction behind the strikes, with Liverpool having lacked in all three departments too often in their shooting this season.

It was a sharp finishing display from Klopp’s men that had shades of the ruthlessness of 2013/14 about it, and one that if Liverpool could have replicated against the likes of Newcastle, West Brom and Man United, would see them sat a lot closer to fourth place.


More of the same

NORWICH, ENGLAND - Friday, January 22, 2016: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson celebrates scoring the second goal against Norwich City during the Premiership match at Carrow Road. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It has been a hugely frustrating season of goal-scoring for Liverpool, who had found the net less than relegation-zoned Sunderland before the lunchtime kick-off.

But rather than looking back, the welcome goal-scoring blitz must be used as a springboard for sustained improvement from this point on.

Klopp’s side sit second to only Man City in the Premier League for chances created, but woefully 19th for their rate of converting those – this now must improve quickly.

Prior to Saturday’s five goals, Liverpool scored just eight times in nine league games after smashing Man City 4-1 at the Etihad Stadium.

Having dished out another punishing offensive performance on the road, the target must be bettering that record this time around, alongside making it easier for themselves at the other end by improving the shambolic defending at set-pieces and against balls lobbed in the box.

NORWICH, ENGLAND - Friday, January 22, 2016: Liverpool's Adam Lallana celebrates scoring the fifth, and winning, goal against Norwich City to seal a late 5-4 victory with manager Jürgen Klopp during the Premiership match at Carrow Road. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Doing so would likely see more wins, more points, and Klopp’s side climbing the table, and with 15 games of the league season to go, who knows what could happen in the most unpredictable of Premier League seasons.

Confidence in front of goal would have been restored in the Klopp’s squad after the exhilarating 5-4 win, especially with midfielders joining the attack in sharing the burden of finding the net.

Liverpool must now build on the welcome ruthless attacking showing as they refuse to give up in their pursuit for a top four place.


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    • Klopp Kidz [email protected]

      Yes, let’s get a trophy! Winning trophies will boost morale, make the fans happy, and keep sponsors eager to splash some $$$.

  1. Klopp Kidz [email protected]

    By now everyone would agree the club has sealed a deal to keep Mignolet as our second choice goalie, and we need to urgently find a top goalie as our #1. By now most would agree we need a top CB and LB to shore up our defence. By now many would agree that we need wingers and a proven striker. With so many positions that need to be plugged, by now ALL would agree Bodgers left behind a mediocre team, squandered 300M Brtish pounds, and left Klopp with an uphill task of getting us back into trophy winning ways.

      • Klopp Kidz [email protected]

        Figure of speech dude… don’t get too excited.

      • The 300M myth has been busted so many times. He just starts insulting you when you disagree. Horrible troll this one. Don’t feed it.

        • Klopp Kidz [email protected]

          Busted? You failed to even understand player valuation. A Bodgers’ sycophant such as you kept defending Bodgers’ mediocrity, no matter what facts lie before your eyes (doubt you are blind, just a plain [email protected]).

          • No buddy, you went and tried to turn everything your way when it obviously wasn’t. Needing tons of insults.

          • Klopp Kidz [email protected]

            I have upvoted you many times when you made sense. And will not hesitate to break your smile if you keep insisting Bodgers’ mediocrity is good for us. Look at the exchange of posts between us on player valuations. I did not for once made any change. All the data is from Transfr Market, not by me. I have offfered you to agree to disagree, yet you kept on with your insults. Sorry buddy, do not think for once I am here for you to step on. You step on me once, twice, and thrice… I will give you a bl00dy nose in return.

          • You’re a joker and a troll.

            You compared what you wasted to compare what you saw fit. And what you saw fit was not the truth buddy. And it was you who didn’t understand market value vs fees paid and received.

            No use in dragging on. You don’t want to listen, you don’t want to argue as you can’t. You don’t want to be proven wrong. It’s trolling behaviour.

          • Klopp Kidz [email protected]

            You believe in your own opinions. I believe in figures provided by Transfermarkt(dot)com. If you insist that your own opinions are more accurate than professional valuation of players, that’s your constitutional right to act like a clown. Everyone can now see Bodgers’ sycophants call other people trolls when they can’t back their words with facts. You’re the one who start the argument, the insults and now trying to take a high moral ground. That’s hypocrisy.

          • Hehe, quite sure you didn’t understand a single thing I wrote.

            The first line was “using transfermarkt”. But it was lost on you.

            You’re on of those boring Jokers that praise Klopp when he wins with Rodgers players and blame it ons Rodgers when Klopp losse with them.

            Those are Jokers and trolls. You’re both.

            Last reaction to you as you’ll drop the same drivell and BS again. You had no points, none.

    • Have you ever written a post here that didn’t include the word “bodgers”? Although Rodgers undoubtedly left a team with issues that needed fixing, it must be pointed out that he inherited and equally mediocre team. He certainly didn’t take a wrecking ball to the club, as some would suggest.
      Anyway he’s gone now, so why continue to constantly bring him up?

      • Klopp Kidz [email protected]

        Do you have to always get so excited and defensive of Bodgers’ mediocrity? It is clear his mediocrity set us back a few seasons, and we must never forget history in order to learn and move forward. To pretend he never existed just because he left us is foolish.

        Bodgers has never built any successful team in his life. 7 months after getting sacked by Reading, Bodgers inherited a Swansea on the up (which has previously been revamped by Paulo Sousa & Martinez). Bodgers had a single season in the EPL with Swansea before he joined us and inherited Suarez and a decent spine (after King Kenny fixed the horrors left behind by G&H and Woy).

        Bodgers’ signature leaky defence got away with it for 2 seasons because of Suarez’s brilliance. The 3rd season without Suarez’s 30+ goals and 14 assists, Bodgers’ “attacking philosophies” revealed his snake-oil salesmanship. When Bodgers tried to build a team, everything fell apart. He was given 300M worth of tools, and in the end proved that he himself was a “tool”.

  2. Ruthless…that’s a big word for last night’s game… wouldn’t say that when we were ruthless and shambolic at the back.

  3. we were “ruthless” or simply opponents’ defence is worse than ours? Norwich defence was non existent so we should not get carried away with the goals… the goals were great help but until we do it regularly we can say something about ruthlessness.

  4. Mid table team playing mid table football.

    Moreno is a joke, no final cross/pass and can’t defend for sh ite. Clyne is very average indeed, certainly when he crosses that halfway line. Lucas was/could have been decent but never really raised his game from just above average. Firminio, is not a solution, good player but has caught the Coutinho virus where he only fleetingly comes out of his shell….. oh, I can’t go on, this is too depressing.

    Yesterdays game was entertaining due only to the scoreline, we were awful, every single player minus Emre Can

        • well I agree with you about Firmino in general, like the rest of our team, is inconsistent… but when he gets it he will be close to Suarez… and he needs to be more resilient and learm a few tricks from Luis..
          But yesterday he was excellent. Can was average imo

          • All of them were average really, I agree, Firminho had his good game in five yesterday and I would say although Emre was also average, he was one of the better average-shi te players on that pitch.

    • Emre Can had arguably the worst game of his career yesterday, but I’m still a big fan. Firmino aside that starting XI should hang their heads in shame.

      • I personally didn’t think he was as bad as you say, he has played worse. But yes, every single player (maybe Toure aside) was truly abysmal.

        • Bar the miss, Milner did alright…I don’t think you can say the rest were abysmal either. We were terrible with defending as a team but credit has to be given for scoring 5 goals to all the players involved in it as well.

    • Moreno has created more chances than any other defender this season.
      Clyne is quality.
      Firmino will be top class.

      • I often do wonder though about Moreno’s chances…the number is high but how many of them are really good chances that the team makes a goal out of? Think that stat is a bit misleading at times since it doesn’t take into account the quality of the chances created.

    • Minus Can? Can stood still while Naismith ghosted past him for his goal, ball watched! And not for the first time. Doesn’t contribute anything spectacular on the other end of the pitch, at least not on a regular basis. Mind you, I agree he’s young but please don’t make him out to be a world class player, at least not on current performance.

    • Seriously, Firmino only fleetingly comes out of his shell…and scores two. If Norwich is not the opposition, then Arsenal. It’s true that his performances were not good in the rest of the games but seriously now if anything Firmino’s game doesn’t warrant labelling it a “Coutinho virus” at all, especially since he’s a new player.

  5. Did any1 notice that Benteke’s holdup play and passes were top notch yesterday? unfortunately we cd not capitalize.

    • Yes he was much improved. Interesting how much better we were with Milner on the left instead of Ibe too. Ibe should play on the right if anywhere, as he plays much better with Clyne than Moreno. I thought Caulker was a handful in attack from a set pieces too.

      • I think Milner is not confined to a particular position and he can be everywhere…
        Ibe was very good in 1H but in 2nd Klopp changed the tactics and he was less effective… I guess tiredness played a part too.

      • I was bemused that Klopp gets Caulker on loan then uses him as plan C in attack. But he had a huge part in the winning goal. I guess Klopp knows best :D After all he himself was a defender who loved to score and a few of them were spectacular.

        • I hope it’s just because he’s not played much football and wants him to train more with the team, but given Sakho’s current form I’d like to see more of him.

      • Ibe should take the bench for a while. It’s quite frustrating that he drives forward with no end product. Either ends up shooting aimlessly, or cross badly or worse, lost the ball. I’d rather had Ojo there to see what he can do.

    • I am not a regular here but i have been going on about this exact thing. Klopp in my opinion is trying to coach him to be involved in link up plays rather than juat be limited to being a target man he is used to. Its going to be a frustruating watch for some time and may even not work out at all. However there’s some progress as you have mentioned and may be by next season we get to see a very different benteke who is suited to our play but also with the targetman capabilities which he abundantly has. That would definitely be something worth a wait. Robert Lewadonski wasn’t made in a day. It took time. :)

      • It’s not only what Klopp wants, but also also what Benteke wants himself, despite some of his woefully static performances at times.
        Benteke has said in the past that he wants to show he is not just a target man, but an all-round striker who is good with his feet and can score from the edge of the box too; and that Liverpool is a team where he can show this.
        Ok he has not really walked that walk much yet, but there have been flashes of it with good layoffs, 1-2’s, and strikes from moderate distance. I agree that he could be very good for us yet. Want to see him in cahoots with a mobile poacher like Studge or Ings. He and Firmino never seem to be on the same page yet, for some reason.

  6. ruthlessness is needed at our club right now and the person to show it is klopp. i hope he can sort out who he wants and who he doesnt very quickly and by the summer have a plan to get rid of hangsrs on and bring in fresh players who are good enough to wear the shirt. I know i shouldnt go there but how did he who shall not be named get away with not bringing in a decent defender.

  7. To be honest I don’t think I want European football just look at what we did in 2013/14 without the weight of Europe almost every mid week, if klopp influence can get his players in with a good preseason and with some players coming back from injury ….. No doubt in my mind that LFC will be a force in the league next season

  8. The only positive I can take out of this game is that is the kind of mentality that wins you cups. Most teams would have been dead and buried at 3-1 and/or content with a 3-3 draw if they got there.

  9. From a tactical point of view.
    The tactics you apply should be guided by the players you have at your disposal. Klopp doesn’t have much to choose from, hence has to make do with what he has
    Moreno ALWAYS leaves too much space btw himself and the LCB. Lovren suffered last season due to it, and now we see Sakho suffering as well.
    Ibe SHOULD NOT play on the left side ahead of Moreno, as he offers only token support in defense. Things got tighter when Milner moved to that side.
    Mobility and intelligence are lacking in mid field. Can and Lucas were repeatedly caught ball watching with no awareness of how the game or moves were developing.
    To solve our porous defense, what we really need is an intelligent and mobile defensive midfielder, who will provide cover for the fullbacks, therby stopping the CB’s from going out wide and leaving spaces in the center of defense. The other option is to keep the fullbacks tight and let the CM’s rotate with the attacking wide players

    • Or at least a very vocal leader in the back. I’m not sure why nobody broke off to follow Naismith or any of the other many runs left through our back line. Somebody needed to be shouting at someone to pick up those runs. Following your runner is a basic fundamental and if by some chance it wasnt spotted by the nearest defender somebody should have been making changes on the fly to close the runner down quicker.

      It seems we have individual defenders a lot of the time as opposed to a cohesive defensive unit.

      • For their second goal:
        Moreno starts off too wide and too far forward, Ibe only just about manages to pretend to help him (by standing close by and watching the passes) doesn’t follow his player when they play a one-two meaning Moreno has to follow him. Hendo and Lucas come over to help hi meaning Can is left on “patrol” duties. It is painful to see how static both Can and Lucas are leading to that goal.

        A vocal leader at the back won’t help so long as the wingers don’t help the fullbacks and the fullbacks keep going too wide, and the CM’s continue to go through the motions of helping. Only Hendo helps while running backwards.
        A third option would be to go with a back three and a dedicated Defensive CM. but we’ve been through all these options, the bottom line is that the current players are not intelligent enough.
        For those who hated zonal marking under Benitez, would they care to compare the results now??

  10. Not sure about ruthless, but we obviously hit the target, their keeper will look back and think on at least 3 of our goals he could have done better.

    But since we got keeper troubles amongst other things of our own, we’ll take any luck or generosity that comes our way, thank you Norwich.

  11. The players, manager and fans celebrated the resilience and belief that the team showed to come back from a difficult situation and get all three points. It is not too long ago when going a goal down meant we automatically lost the match.

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