SOUVENIR PROGRAMME

Emotional scenes but youngsters a “triumph” – Last word on Liverpool 5-2 Norwich

Liverpool booked their place in the last 16 of the FA Cup with a lively 5-2 win over Norwich, and there were plenty of talking points to take from the contest.

The Reds maintained their perfect start to 2024 at Anfield on Sunday afternoon, with five different players getting on the scoresheet against the Canaries.

It was an emotional affair for Liverpool supporters, with the game coming just two days after Jurgen Klopp announced he will depart the club at the end of the season.

Adam Beattie (@beatts94), and Harry McMullen (@mcmulhar) are here to unpack the latest domestic cup triumph.

 

It was an eventful and emotional one! Did Jurgen’s reactions to the support make it all start to feel real?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 28, 2024: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp before the FA Cup 4th Round match between Liverpool FC and Norwich City FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

ADAM: It definitely felt like everything was turned up a notch, not just the songs about the manager but everything else, including the reception Andy Robertson got when he came on.

We’re going to need Anfield to be at its best between now and May. That game had the potential to be a bit flat but it became a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon in all senses of the word.

I agree with Jurgen Klopp that the focus needs to be on the job at hand in the coming months, Sunday was a great opportunity to show our appreciation but attention now needs to turn to Chelsea and this title race.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 28, 2024: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during the FA Cup 4th Round match between Liverpool FC and Norwich City FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

HARRY: I definitely moved through the denial phase seeing the scenes before kickoff.

It feels like such an integrity move from Klopp to go when he feels it’s right, that we need to respond in kind – starting with accepting that it’s happening! And making the most of the time we have left.

 

How impressive were the youngsters?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 28, 2024: Liverpool's Conor Bradley during the FA Cup 4th Round match between Liverpool FC and Norwich City FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

HARRY: When James McConnell laid on the opener for Curtis Jones, it felt like a real triumph for the academy.

The likes of McConnell, Conor Bradley and Jarell Quansah acquitted themselves really well.

But Jones himself is still only 22, Gravenberch 22 alongside him. Ibrahima Konate feels like a seasoned pro in there, and he is still just 24.

The definition of “youngster” is hard to pin down in this team, which is a massive compliment to those who are standing up right now.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 28, 2024: Liverpool's James McConnell during the FA Cup 4th Round match between Liverpool FC and Norwich City FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

ADAM: This has been my favourite thing about watching the Reds in recent weeks.

It has been a joy to watch them all slot in seamlessly when asked and it is really reassuring to know that we have capable players in all positions in the event of injuries.

Bradley has been an absolute revelation. It actually feels harsh to think that he’s going to go back to predominantly warming the bench now Trent is back in the squad.

 

Trent, Robbo and Szobo are all back, it’s looking ominous for the rest of the league, isn’t it?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 28, 2024: Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold during the FA Cup 4th Round match between Liverpool FC and Norwich City FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

ADAM: It feels great to be able to welcome them all back in one go, you realise just how strong we are when half the first team aren’t all on the treatment table!

We’ve been able to keep winning without them, but the performances have been heading in the right direction and we could be a seriously dangerous prospect now we’ve almost got the full quota.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 28, 2024: Liverpool's Dominik Szoboszlai during the FA Cup 4th Round match between Liverpool FC and Norwich City FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

HARRY: If they’re not shaking, they should be.

Robertson’s form prior to his injury was going under the radar a bit, but he gives us such a threat out wide on that left-hand side.

As brilliant as Gomez has been there, it’s easier to defend him coming inside to use his right foot.

Szoboszlai’s energy and willingness to shoot is also welcome back, as is his quality – the delivery for Van Dijk’s goal was immaculate. And Trent Alexander-Arnold might just be Liverpool’s most important player.

With the amount of freedom he gets within the system, Klopp clearly thinks so too.

 

Who was Man of the Match for you?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 28, 2024: Liverpool's Ryan Gravenberch (L) celebrates with team-mate Conor Bradley after scoring the fifth goal during the FA Cup 4th Round match between Liverpool FC and Norwich City FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

HARRY: Conor Bradley. Multiple assists, played multiple positions (briefly filling in at right wing before McConnell’s injury) and he showed both defensive mettle and attacking thrust.

After a year or so of inverted full-backs on the right, it was nice to see a Robertson-esque display on that side. His tenacity to set up the second goal was a particular highlight.

Special mention for Jones though, who is growing into his role as Gini Wijnaldum 2.0. Case in point: he was absolutely outstanding for his whole game, and nobody is really talking about it.

He’s set such a high standard for himself, and he reaches it week in week out.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 28, 2024: Liverpool's Curtis Jones celebrates with James McConnell (R) after scoring the first goal during the FA Cup 4th Round match between Liverpool FC and Norwich City FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

ADAM: Aside from the youngsters we’ve already mentioned, I thought Jones was brilliant once again. He kept everything ticking over for us in the middle.

Diogo Jota was a livewire too, he probably should have had a hat-trick of identical volleys and the one he put away was arguably the pick of the punch from our five goals.

 

What team do you think we’ll see on Wednesday?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 28, 2024: Liverpool's Andy Robertson during the FA Cup 4th Round match between Liverpool FC and Norwich City FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

ADAM: I imagine all the players who returned from injury off the bench will start against Chelsea, Robertson possibly the only exception if Klopp chooses to bed him in slowly given Gomez’s form.

I’d like to see Luis Diaz start, it feels like he’s getting back to his best and it would be good to see him get the chance to keep that momentum going.

Personally, I’d go: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Gomez; Mac Allister, Szoboszlai, Jones; Diaz, Nunez, Jota

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 28, 2024: Liverpool's Diogo Jota celebrates after scoring the third goal during the FA Cup 4th Round match between Liverpool FC and Norwich City FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

HARRY: With minutes in the legs for Van Dijk, Alexander-Arnold, Robertson and Szoboszlai off the bench, I expect each of them to start. Early departures for Konate and Jones suggest the same.

It’ll be harsh for Gomez to drop out for such a big game, but he’s due a rest, especially with Arsenal immediately following at the weekend.

I think someone drops out for Diaz – as Adam says- but not sure who. The flexibility of our forwards is making us wonderfully unpredictable at the moment!

Finally, I worry about the number six position. Wataru Endo is still at the Asian Cup, while Alexis Mac Allister missed today as an injury “precaution”. James McConnell limped off towards the end of the match today, too.

We could see Jones start there, if not perhaps Trent – which would be very adventurous indeed.

My guess: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson; Mac Allister (hopefully), Szoboszlai, Jones; Diaz, Gakpo, Jota