Friday, 18 April 2014

Five Favourite Wins Against - Norwich away

Continuing the series where I look back at my five favourite wins against Liverpool’s next opponents.  This weekend Liverpool travel to Carrow Road to meet Norwich City and here are my five favourite wins from past encounters.

7th October 1978

NORWICH CITY   (0)   1   (Ryan pen 75)

LIVERPOOL   (3)   4   (Heighway 6, 10, Johnson 36, Case 49)

NORWICH CITY: Keelan; Bond, Powell, Hoadley, Sullivan; Neighbour, Ryan, Robson, Peters; Reeves, Robb (Davies)

LIVERPOOL: Clemence; Neal, Thompson, Hansen, A.Kennedy; Case, Souness, R.Kennedy; Johnson, Dalglish, Heighway

Liverpool had won back-to-back titles in 1976 and 1977, yet were stunned when Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest stormed to the title in 1978, a year after promotion.  They began the 1978/79 season in determined mood.  They’d were unbeaten from the start of the season having won 7 of their 8 matches to date scoring 24 goals.  Norwich were 8th, although they’d only won 2 matches but also only been beaten twice.  Their home record had so far seen them unbeaten, conceding only 2 goals.

Liverpool were off and running earlier as a patient build-up involved Johnson, Case and Dalglish before Dalglish’s back-header found Heighway wide on the left.  He twisted and turned to beat Kevin Bond and then fired a shot across the goal and into the far corner.  Keelan appeared to think it was going wide, but it crept in and Liverpool were in front.

Four minutes later, Ray Clemence kicked downfield and Dalglish turned Hoadley with ease before his shot hit the left-hand post and bounced back out.  As the home defence stood and watched Heighway was the first to react and slid the ball in past Keelan and Liverpool were 2-0 up.  Ten before the break and Case was again involved in midfield, combining with Dalglish who along with his strike partner, David Johnson, was pulling the Norwich defenders all over the place.  Alan Kennedy then joined the attack and as Dalglish’s run took the defence to the left, Johnson was all alone on the right-hand side of the area.  Kennedy slid the ball to him and he fired past Keelan for a 3-0 half-time lead.

Early in the second half Liverpool attacked again and Dalglish was brought down on the edge of the area by Hoadley.  Case and Souness were standing over the ball when Case ran up and fired the ball through the wall and into the net for their 4th goal of the afternoon.  The defence may have been expecting Souness to take the kick but Case took it, it hit one of the turning Norwich defenders on the back and goes in.  Fifteen minutes to go and Martin Peters was played in on the left wing.  As he drifts into the area he cuts inside where Phil Neal trips him and the referee points to the spot.  John Ryan stepped up to take it and sent Clemence the wrong way.  It was no more than a consolation as Norwich were well beaten.  Liverpool pulled further ahead at the top of the table as Everton were held at home.

Liverpool won the League that year breaking a number of records on the way as they were one of the finest teams the English First Division had ever witnessed.  Norwich ended down in 16th although were rarely in danger of relegation.

9th February 1980

NORWICH CITY   (2)   3   (Peters 1, Reeves 37, Fashanu 81)

LIVERPOOL   (2)   5   (Fairclough 4, 18, 75, Dalglish 88, Case 89)

NORWICH CITY: Keelan; Bond, Jones, Brown, Downs; Mendham (McGuire), Ryan, Paddon, Peters; Reeves, Fashanu

LIVERPOOL: Clemence; Neal, Thompson, Hansen, A.Kennedy; Lee, Case, McDermott, R.Kennedy; Fairclough, Dalglish

A classic encounter talked about for years to come, although this had more to do with the plight of one particular player than the fact the game was an exciting battle. 

Liverpool came into the game top of the league, ahead of Manchester United on goal difference.  It had been two weeks since their last league game when they surprisingly lost at Coventry, ending a 16-game unbeaten run.  Norwich were sitting in 9th and on an 8-game unbeaten run, although they’d only managed to win 2 of those 8 games.

Norwich were first out of the blocks and had soon forced a couple of corners.  The second was flicked on at the near post and Martin Peters headed in unchallenged from about 2 yards out.  However, instead of galvanising the home side into taking control it simply provoked the visitors into a reaction.  Three minutes later, David Fairclough drifted to the right wing to receive a pass from Terry McDermott.  Fairclough knocked the ball first time inside to Sammy Lee who then gave it back to Fairclough, now free in the area, and his shot was too hot for Keelan to keep out.   1-1.  Sammy Lee was making his first appearance of the season and Fairclough only his 3rd, and his first for 5 months.

Eighteen minutes in and Alan Hansen embarked on a, now familiar, surge forward and as the defence concerned themselves with McDermott and Fairclough to his right, Hansen was able to make it all the way to the edge of the area.  Once at the area he then played Fairclough in and his first time shot beat Keelan, for his and Liverpool’s 2nd goal.  Norwich were continuing to cause problems at set-pieces but then with just 8 minutes before the break, Norwich equalised.  Fashanu and Mendham combined on the right and Mendham’s ball into the area was nodded on by Graham Paddon and Kevin Reeves went in at the near post to beat Clemence and Neal to put things back on a level footing at 2-2 for half-time.

Both teams had chances in the second half to add to the score but with 15 minutes to go, Ray Kennedy put Dalglish in on the left and his ball across the goal was turned in at the far post by Fairclough to complete his hat-trick.  It was his first ever hat-trick for Liverpool, having made his debut back in November 1975.

Norwich came back at the league leaders and forced Clemence into some vital saves and then with 9 minutes to go came the iconic moment of the game.  In the inside right position, John Ryan knocked the ball to Justin Fashanu who was on the edge of the area with his back to goal.  Ryan was expecting it back as he carried on into the space on the right wing.  But Fashanu flicked the ball up with his right foot, swivelled and met it sweetly on the volley with his left.  Clemence stood no chance and Fashanu calmly walked away with his finger in the air.  He seemed destined for great things but this was probably as good as it got for Fashanu, but that’s another story.

Norwich had kept battling and were rightly confident of getting something from the game, but they were victims of Liverpool’s unrelenting will to win.  Fairclough missed a golden opportunity to grab his fourth as he was put clear by a ball from defence, but in a move synonymous with his famous goal against St.Etienne, Fairclough fluffed his lines somewhat and Keelan managed to stop the ball between his knees.  With two minutes to go, Case put McDermott in on the right of the area and his shot across the goal was headed in on the line by Dalglish.  It was an incisive move and Liverpool were clinical in their pressure.  Within minutes of the kick-off Case and Dalglish played a one-two on the edge of the box and Case held off David Jones to fire into the roof of the net and put the result beyond doubt.

Liverpool won 5-3 and Norwich were so close to mixing it with the Champions but ultimately fell foul of a side who went onto retain their title.  Norwich finished 12th in the table.

29th April 1995

NORWICH CITY   (1)   1   (Ullathorne 17)

LIVERPOOL   (1)   2   (Harkness 7, Rush 84)

NORWICH CITY: Marshall; Bowen, Newsome, Ward, Crook; Polston, Milligan, Sutch, Ullathorne (Adams); Bradshaw (Cureton), Akinbiyi

LIVERPOOL: James; Wright, Babb, Scales, Harkness; McManaman, Thomas, Redknapp, Barnes (Clough); Fowler (Walters), Rush

As the 1994/95 season drew to a close Liverpool had already qualified for Europe by virtue of winning the League Cup yet were also closing in on a top three place as they were 3pts behind Forest with 2 games in hand.  Norwich, on the other hand, were in trouble in the bottom three although they were one of five clubs separated by just 1pt.  Norwich had won just 1 game all year (17 matches) and had lost 5 in a row.

Liverpool took an early lead in the 7th minute as Ian Rush caused problems in the area and the ball fell kindly for Steve Harkness to fire them into the lead.  It was Harkness’s first goal for Liverpool in his 4th season at the club.  Ten minutes later the home side equalised.  John Polston crossed from the right and Robert Ullathorne came in on the far post to fire the ball into the roof of the net.

With the home crowd desperate for any point they could grab, Liverpool finally broke their hearts as Steve McManaman’s shot was fumbled by Andy Marshall and Ian Rush was on hand to turn the ball into the empty net.  It was 34 year old Rush’s 19th of the season in what would prove his final full season at Liverpool.

Liverpool ended in 4th place, unable to close the gap on Forest.  Norwich were relegated ending 5pts from safety.

28th April 2012

NORWICH CITY   (0)   0

LIVERPOOL   (2)   3   (Suarez 24, 28, 82)

NORWICH CITY: Ruddy; Naughton, Ward, Drury (Martin), R.Bennett; Howson, E.Bennett, Pilkington, Fox (Vaughan); B.Johnson, Morison (Holt)

LIVERPOOL: Reina; G.Johnson, Carragher, Agger, Enrique; Henderson, Gerrard (Coates), Shelvey, Downing; Bellamy, Suarez (Kuyt)

Two weeks before this fixture Liverpool had come from behind to beat Everton in the FA Cup Semi-Final at Wembley.  They followed that with a frustrating 0-1 defeat at home to West Brom and were lying 8th in the table.  Norwich were down in 13th but a comfortable 10pts above the drop-zone.

This game will be remembered for the performance of one man, Luis Suarez.  The Uruguayan was on fire and looked unstoppable.  Midway through the first half Norwich knocked the ball around at the back when Steven Gerrard pounced on a short pass to Fox and sent Suarez clear.  Suarez fired a fierce left-foot shot giving Ruddy no chance.  Barely four minutes later and Suarez was at it again, nicking the ball on the right and as he powered his way into the area support appeared to his left, but Suarez fired a low shot right into the far corner and he had a double in quick time.

Liverpool lead 2-0 at the break and were good value for their lead.  Liverpool’s lead was rarely threatened during the second half but for all Suarez brilliance in the first two strikes, everything paled into insignificance with the third goal.  The ball was down near the bye-line in the Liverpool area when Johnson played the ball up field where Suarez was marked by Elliott Bennett.  Suarez got there first, with Bennett putting in a weak challenge.  Suarez crossed the halfway and then barely 10 yards into the Norwich half he floated the ball outrageously over Ruddy and into the net for a stunning goal to complete his hat-trick.  It was his first hat-trick for the club and a performance many of us have come to expect from him since.

Liverpool ended the season in 8th although they lifted the Carling Cup and were runners-up in the FA Cup.  Norwich finished in 12th.

29th September 2012

NORWICH CITY   (0)   2   (Morison 61, Holt 87)

LIVERPOOL   (2)   5   (Suarez 2, 38, 57, Sahin 47, Barnett og 68)

NORWICH CITY: Ruddy; Martin, Garrido, Barnett, Turner; Snodgrass, Howson, Surman (Hoolahan), B.Johnson; Jackson (Holt), Morison (Tettey)

LIVERPOOL: Reina; Wisdom, Skrtel, Agger, G.Johnson (Carragher); Sahin (Henderson), Gerrard, Allen, Suso (Assaidi); Sterling, Suarez

In Brendan Rodgers first season as Liverpool manager they were still waiting for their first league win by the time they arrived at Carrow Road at the end of September.  After five matches they sat third from bottom with just 2pts.  This Norwich game would prove the catalyst to get their season started.  Norwich, themselves were without a win, scoring just twice so far.

Early in the game Glen Johnson came forward down the left and as he cut inside he tried to play in Nuri Sahin.  The pass was blocked and fell to Luis Suarez just outside the area.  He played it onto his right and hit a low shot beating Ruddy at his near post.  There was a controversial moment during the first half when a long-kick from Reina bounced over Suarez as he got ahead of Leon Barnett and the Norwich defender appeared to clumsily bundle him over.  The referee waved away a penalty with the home side claiming Suarez dived.  TV Replays appeared to prove otherwise.

As half-time approached Daniel Agger surged forward from the back and played Suarez in on goal but he slid his shot wide of the post.  As he faced derision from the home fans, Ruddy took the goal-kick short to Garrido at left-back and he played it square to Michael Turner.  Turner, unaware Suarez was behind him, then turned to face his keeper and found Suarez who nicked the ball off him, turned and netmegged the Norwich defender before beating Ruddy with a shot using the outside of his right foot.  It was a masterful piece of impudence from Suarez who took delight in giving the Norwich fans back some of their own medicine.

Minutes after the break Robert Snodgrass inexplicably put the ball over from about 2 yards and Liverpool immediately punished him.  Sterling, with an exuberant burst forward, played Suarez in on the left.  He got to the bye-line but his first pass was blocked so he had another go with his right foot and there was Sahin to turn it in for this first League goal for the club he was on loan to.  Ten minutes later Suarez completed his hat-trick.  Given too much room on the left-side just outside the area, he was able to curl the ball round Martin and in past Ruddy for his 6th goal in successive matches at Carrow Road.

Norwich did fight back almost immediately as Russell Martin came forward to join the attack and his shot was too hot for Reina to hold and the rebound fell to Morison who turned it in. 1-4 Norwich now trailed but Liverpool soon restored their 4-goal advantage.  Gerrard found Sterling on the right and as he reached the area he played it back to Gerrard and the Liverpool captain’s shot hit Barnett and went in.  Just before the end Grant Holt pounced on a mistake by Martin Skrtel and curled the ball past Reina but Liverpool were comfortable winners, enjoying their first of the season.

Liverpool recovered from their disappointing start to the season, ending 7th with Norwich finishing in 11th.

HEAD TO HEAD at Carrow Road

Matches: 26

Liverpool win: 11

Norwich win: 7

Draws: 8

Liverpool goals: 39

Norwich goals: 30

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