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10 key things to know ahead of Liverpool vs. Norwich

Liverpool face Norwich in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon in what is to be a windy affair, as they look to continue their formidable seven-game winning run.

The Reds welcome the 18th-place Canaries to Anfield this weekend, with Jurgen Klopp‘s men the strong favourites to prevail for their sixth league double from 10 Premier League seasons.

Here are 10 things to know ahead of the match.

 

1. Another top-flight struggle for Norwich

NORWICH, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 14, 2021: Liverpool's Sadio Mane (L) and Norwich City's Max Aarons during the FA Premier League match between Norwich City FC and Liverpool FC at Carrow Road. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Like West Brom and Fulham, Norwich seem to seesaw between the Premier League and the Championship with almost effortless ease.

They are almost not good enough for the former and too strong for the latter!

This season has been another tough one in the top-flight for Norwich, with just four wins coming their way in 24 outings – two of which came in January alone!

Daniel Farke was replaced by Dean Smith midway through the campaign, as they look to pull out of the relegation zone between now and May.

 

2. Smith doing his best

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, July 5, 2020: Liverpool’s manager Jürgen Klopp (L) and Aston Villa's manager Dean Smith greet each other before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Aston Villa FC at Anfield. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

As mentioned, Smith came in after Farke’s sacking back in November, having done an impressive job as Aston Villa manager.

While Norwich have continued to largely struggle with him at the helm, he has still overseen three of his side’s four league wins to move off the bottom of the table.

Not only that, but the Canaries also find themselves in the FA Cup fifth round, against the Reds, following an impressive 1-0 win away to Wolves.

This will be the sixth time Smith has come up against Liverpool as a manager, winning two and losing three of the previous five matches, including the Reds’ haunting 7-2 defeat at Villa last season.

 

3. How could the Canaries line-up?

Norwich City's Teemu Pukki celebrates scoring his side's third goal of the game vs Man City (Steven Paston/EMPICS Sport)

While Liverpool had Champions League commitments in midweek, Norwich will be well-rested after a week off.

Their last outing was a predictable 4-0 loss at home to Man City, but it could be that Smith fields the same starting lineup, with no new injuries.

That would mean Chelsea‘s highly-rated on-loan youngster Billy Gilmour starting in midfield and Teemu Pukki leading the line.

Wide man Milot Rashica was linked with a move to Liverpool in the past and he could come up against Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Adam Idah is set to miss the rest of the season for Norwich, while Tim Krul, Lukas Rupp and Andrew Omobamidele are all out, too.

Predicted Norwich XI: Gunn; Aarons, Hanley, Gibson, Williams; Gilmour, Lees-Melou, McLean; Sargent, Rashica, Pukki

 

4. Who’s out for Liverpool?

MILAN, ITALY - Tuesday, February 15, 2022: Liverpool's Diogo Jota is tackled by Inter Milan's Denzel Dumfries during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 1st Leg game between FC Internazionale Milano and Liverpool FC at the Stadio San Siro. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Klopp still has a wealth of options at his disposal going into the game, but one player who is definitely out is Diogo Jota.

The Portuguese forward was withdrawn at half-time in the 2-0 win away to Inter Milan on Wednesday night, having picked up an ankle injury which the full extent of is still unknown.

The problem could even keep Jota of the League Cup final against Chelsea on February 27, acting as a big blow for Liverpool.

Otherwise, every other squad member is available for the Reds.

 

5. Predicted Reds XI

MILAN, ITALY - Tuesday, February 15, 2022: Liverpool's Luis Díaz during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 1st Leg game between FC Internazionale Milano and Liverpool FC at the Stadio San Siro. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Klopp made four changes in midweek and a similar amount could be expected on Saturday afternoon.

Joel Matip may return to the back-line in place of Ibrahima Konate, but Virgil van Dijk being given the day off shouldn’t be completely ruled out.

Meanwhile, Kostas Tsimikas could come in for Andy Robertson, while Jordan Henderson and Naby Keita did their chances of starting no harm in their cameos at Inter.

Luis Diaz was a vibrant substitute at the San Siro and may earn a second Liverpool start – could Klopp play Sadio Mane on the right and Mohamed Salah centrally in the absence of Jota?

Possible Liverpool XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Tsimikas; Fabinho, Henderson, Keita; Mane, Diaz, Salah.

 

6. Klopp’s message to squad players

Speaking in his pre-match press conference on Friday, Klopp used the five midweek substitutes as inspiration for those currently lacking playing time:

“If you come on, you have to do exactly what the five boys, in the end, did when they came on against Inter.

“It’s the part I like least [leaving players out]. It’s easy when the boys give you reasons; spending three nights in the bar, or pictures in the pub and you don’t understand the situation – we’ve never had that.

“You better keep yourself in a good place, be angry with me, no problem, be disappointed no problem, but next day show up and be the best version of yourself and go again.”

Curtis Jones hasn’t even made the last two matchday squads, for example, and needs to be raring to go if handed an opportunity on Saturday.

 

7. Sheer dominance from Liverpool

NORWICH, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 14, 2021: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring the third goal during the FA Premier League match between Norwich City FC and Liverpool FC at Carrow Road. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool may have some bogey teams who frustratingly take points off them regularly, but Norwich are not one of them.

The Reds haven’t lost to the Canaries since way back in April 1994 when Jeremy Goss scored the only goal in the last-ever match in front of the standing Kop.

In fact, Liverpool have won 10 of their last 11 meetings with their weekend opponents – the only game Norwich took a point from was a 1-1 draw at Anfield just a couple of weeks before Klopp became manager, back in September 2015.

Frankly, Norwich must be sick of the sight of the Reds.

 

8. Did You Know?

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 24, 2021: Liverpool's Andy Robertson (L) and Trent Alexander-Arnold before the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. Liverpool won 5-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Alexander-Arnold and Robertson have been incredible full-backs for Liverpool, almost redefining their respective roles.

This season, the former has 14 assists to his name, while the latter got his 10th of the campaign at Inter Milan in midweek, crossing for Roberto Firmino to head home the opener.

Compare this to last term and the contrast is stark.

Alexander-Arnold (nine) and Robertson (seven) got just 16 assists combined in the entire 2020/21 season, as they struggled amid a host of injuries around them.

They are now back to their absolute best, standing out as arguably the best right-back and left-back in the world.

 

9. The Mike Dean Show!

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 21, 2021: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson speaks with referee Mike Dean during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Burnley FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 2-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Mike Dean, Tranmere’s favourite son, has been confirmed as the referee this weekend, while John Brooks is on VAR duty.

This is going to be the fourth Liverpool game Dean has taken charge of already this season, with largely good results for the Reds to date.

He oversaw the 2-0 and 3-1 wins at home to Burnley and Newcastle, respectively, as well as the 2-2 draw with Brighton at Anfield in between.

Here’s hoping Dean doesn’t make the afternoon about himself, as he has been accused of in the past.

 

10. Another 3pm blackout…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 14, 2019: A silhouette of television cameras during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Newcastle United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

As seems to have been the case more than usual this season, Liverpool are again taking part in a 3pm (GMT) game on a Saturday.

That means the match won’t be televised in the UK.

If you are unable to be at Anfield, TIA’s matchday live blog will be available as always, with Henry Jackson guiding you through the action from 2.15pm.

Come on you Reds!

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