Liverpool Thrash Norwich - AGAIN!
The return of Grant Holt to full fitness was tempered by the fact that recent meetings with Liverpool have resulted in sound thrashings for the Canaries, and so it was here that we took another beating.
It didn`t help that Seb Bassong was missing from the back line and had to be replaced by Ryan Bennett and with only one point from the previous 15 available, City were nervous.
Chris Hughton went to try to contain Liverpool who started with Sturridge and Suarez together for the first time. Hoolahan and Pilkington started on the bench with Howson and Elliot Bennett replacing them in the first eleven.
The first real chance came to the Canaries as Ryan Bennett nodded a free header at stand in keeper, Brad Jones from a set piece. Other than a smart shot from Holt later on in the game this was as good as it got for City.
The opening goal came from an unlikely source when the ball fell to Jordan Henderson 20 odd yards from goal. The former Sunderland man thumped a thunderous half volley past Mark Bunn, who had no chance.
And from that point on it was difficult to see anything other than a win for the home side.
The score was 2 nil when nemesis Suarez was played in by a lovely piece of understanding from Sturridge on 36 minutes.
A through ball from Lucas was aimed at Sturridge who had Turner for company. The Liverpool new boy feinted and let the ball run past him to the on rushing Suarez as Turner slid by.
Suarez was one on one with Bunn and slotted the ball into the far corner to make the score 2 nil at half time.
In the second half, Liverpool kept up the pressure with a brilliant Steven Gerrard pulling the strings. The return of Lucas has allowed Gerrard the licence to roam forward and he bossed the midfield against Tettey and Johnson who by the end were chasing shadows.
Sturridge made it 3 nil on 59 minutes when he tapped in a low Downing cross and Gerrard scored a trademark fourth from 25 yards on 66 minutes.
There was still time for the hapless Ryan Bennett to put through his own goal to make the score a disturbing five nil.
Norwich City were very poor here and offered very little going forward. Holt was often left very isolated and not supported enough by his team mates when that sort of opportunity did arise.
We are not playing with anything like the verve and determination that saw us go on that 10 game unbeaten run. Where would we be now without that run?
It had looked like who would be getting relegated along with QPR and Reading but not anymore. Both those sides have picked up and Norwich are right in the mix for trouble.
Yes, we`re seven points clear of them but with just under half the season to go we need to find some form again and quickly.
With so little offered offensively at Anfield, I wonder if our rigid 4-5-1 is not always the way to go. After all, Holt has always been much more effective when playing with another forward and with Hoolahan struggling a little of late he could do with some help.
I`d go so far as to say that the purchase of a quality striker is now imperative. Celtic are now saying "Every player has his price". Let`s hope that whatever they want for Hooper, we are able and prepared to pay.
If Hooper is not a viable option then it has to be Danny Graham, ideally we want them both and it seems Hughton and the board agree on this.
In the mean time, there is the hopeful respite of the FA Cup against Luton next week. I say hopeful respite, because those boys will treat it like a cup final and it won`t be easy - let`s hope the lads can be as professional as they were in the last round and score a few goals in front of a packed Carrow Road.