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Football News: Norwich City v Liverpool - A Liverpool Perspective

Norwich City v Liverpool - A Liverpool Perspective
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Norwich City v Liverpool A Liverpool Perspective

 

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That was almost like last season had never happened and the team was picking straight up from where they left off after winning the title and looking irresistible once more. The problem is last season did happen, so now I would expect most of us Liverpool fans were holding our breath every time a defender made a challenge! I know my heart missed a beat when Alexander-Arnold limped for a few seconds after hitting a shot, half-expecting him to have to go off and miss the rest of the season.

In fact, I would go so far as to call that victory routine. Though, before the game kicked off I had been worried after seeing the other two promoted sides win, I realised afterward we are not a fairly recently promoted side ourselves like Villa. Or managed by an incompetent bumbling overrated former player who thinks he is some kind of tactical genius because he once sat next to Pep Guardiola.

The thing that marred the result and performance though was the crowd. What was the need for the homophobic chanting at Billy Gilmour? Is it not time people moved on from the whole Chelsea rent boy nonsense? It was frankly embarrassing to hear it so clearly coming from the Liverpool fans and they let themselves down with that after being so excellent throughout the game until that point. It was cringeworthy and pointless.

 


Norwich City

 

Unfortunately for the Canaries, they were completely outclassed and looked completely toothless. The chances they did get were more a consequence of the way Liverpool play, rather than down to anything particularly good about their performance. They did keep going and made it an entertaining game through their efforts, but they are far too open for a team which has a complete lack of firepower up top. Without regular goals, you simply cannot go toe-to-toe with opponents the way they tried to.

They are going to be a lot of fun to watch this season, but it is difficult to see them being involved in anything other than a long, hard relegation battle.

 


Liverpool

 

Klopp - there was not a lot for Klopp to do this week, he could just go back to his tried and trusted formula, leaving it to overrun Norwich. The only real question marks over the team were in midfield, which it must be said were extremely disappointing. At the end of the day though, the important thing was it was good enough to get the result, despite consisting of what can only be considered second choice players.

 

Alisson - looked to be back to the Alisson that excelled and made himself clearly the best in the world in his first couple of seasons with Liverpool. He was always there as an option for the defenders if there was the slightest worry of pressure and swept up well. Added to that his distribution was excellent and he made the big save when called upon, before somehow managing to bat the ball away a few seconds later.

 

Alexander-Arnold - he was given far too much space to get forward and made full use of it. When a player that good is able to consistently find acres of space like that, you have to expect to be punished as a club and it was surprising Norwich did nothing to close down his space. He certainly made them pay for it with some excellent deliveries.

 

Matip - looked like he had never been away and played a big part in smothering their attack, as well as playing some decent passes out from the back. His weakness is still being caught by a ball over the top, as he has been coached to be aggressive and push onto the attacker, rather than drop when the ball is about to be played. Norwich do not possess the pacy striker for that to be a real problem though and he was able to deal with the one or two times the ball did get played in behind.

 

van Dijk - looked as imperious as ever, with some of his trademark diagonals even dropped into the performance. Having him back there is a massive boost for the team.

 

Tsimikas - not a bad first start. Looked really good going forward early on, driving them back down his flank, but began to rely on the same trick and allowed them to deal with him easily. Needed to just deliver a ball across, rather than take that extra touch. He also struggled with his concentration as the game went on. Hopefully a run of games with van Dijk and Alisson in his ear will fix that particular problem!

 

Milner - struggled a bit in the deeper role, there were a few times he forgot and strayed too far forward, others were he was too restrained and just sat in between the centre-backs. Looked much better once he was freed up to play further forward when Fabinho came on. I do wonder what Klopp would do without him though, as who would have been able to cover the deep role with Henderson and Thiago out injured and Fabinho not ready for 90 minutes?

 

Keita - it was a step forward as a performance over previous ones he has put in while at Liverpool, but there is still a lot more that he can give. First he has to stay fit though and that is a challenge that has been beyond him up until now. There are occasional flashes from him, but there are also far too many moments when he is caught out strolling around and not backing up the press. Hopefully he sees this as a performance to build upon and learn from, rather than the level he needs to aim at.

 

Oxlade-Chamberlain - he tried, but it was not a good performance from him. To be fair, he has been played in different positions in the front three in most of his most recent performances, punctuated by serious injuries, so it is to be expected that he needs time to adapt his game.

 

Mane - looked much more like the Mane of old than the Mane of last season. Did some lovely things but looks in need of a goal. You could see how badly his teammates want him to get one when even Salah is passing up a chance to shoot to try and play him in!

 

Salah - exceptional once again, making it 5 seasons in a row where he has scored on the opening day, which is not bad for a player who was labelled a one season wonder by many pundits. The Norwich defence will have been having nightmares about him last night.

 

Jota - before his goal he had been having a terrible game, constantly giving the ball away and every time the ball reached him the attack broke down. But he is like an old school fox-in-the-box, you just have to accept his limitations and get the ball to him in the box, rather than the halfway line. Though he is also capable of devastating runs, as he showed before being brought down, he is simply not going to link up play. One thing he does do is keep going even when it is not going well.

 

Firmino - replaced Jota in the 61st minute. Another player who looked something like his best, though he was coming on against tired legs and a team that was not really the biggest test. It was nice to see him back on the scoresheet as well. Hopefully that is a sign of what is to come from him this season.

 

Fabinho - came on in place of Oxlade-Chamberlain in the 61st minute. Not really under the kind of pressure that allows him to excel, most of Norwich's play missed out the midfield, as theirs was pretty much non-existent and intent on defending. It was not a game for him to shine, though he certainly never played badly either.

 

Elliott - took Keita's spot in the 83rd minute. It was nice to hear the anticipation of the crowd and to know it is not just me that is excited by this kid. You just feel he has something special about him and every touch brings a buzz. He did struggle to really get into the game but there were some good signs from him and he did enough to suggest he could have a bigger part to play this season.

 

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Written by Tris Burke August 15 2021 10:10:01

 

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