It’s Bottom vs. Top in the Premier League’s Saturday evening match, and the game offers Liverpool a chance to move 25 points clear at the top of the Premier League. While Jurgen Klopp is unlikely to be anything other than professional about the job in front of his players here, this match is surely part of a three-month long victory lap for the Reds – and it’s hard to see them failing to pick up all three points.
They will, however, be facing a team with more incentive than themselves to pick up the win. While the bottom of the table is congested, with just six points separating 14th from 19th, Norwich sit below that group, seven points from safety ahead of this game. While they do have a game in hand over some of their relegation rivals, that game is unfortunately against the champions-elect, today, and the odds on a home win are justifiably long.
Norwich City vs Liverpool Prediction: Norwich City 1-3 Liverpool
Norwich battled manfully through the first few months of the season, and after picking up a couple of early wins with their attacking style of football they seemed to have a puncher’s chance of staying in the Premier League. They’re not going to compromise on their footballing principles at this stage, and neither should they – if they have a way out of the relegation zone, it’s by attacking. The problem here is that they’re up against the best counter-attacking side in England, and probably all of Europe, and it’s likely to tell over the course of 90 minutes.
Our recommended tip: Over 3.5 goals
If Norwich get another shot at Premier League football in the next couple of seasons, they’ll surely address their defence as a matter of urgency. There’s very little wrong further forward, where Teemu Pukki was one of the joys of the first half of the season and Todd Cantwell shows signs of being a real find. However, at the back they’ve been hurt by injury and were already sub-par; it’s not the way you’d want things to be when you’re set to face Salah, Mane and Firmino. NetBet have 13/10 on this game being filled with goals, and it’s a price worth taking.
Norwich had the dubious honour of being the first side to visit Anfield for a competitive match since the Reds won the 2019 Champions League. The word “competitive”, already doing a lot of work, was stretched beyond meaning when Grant Hanley diverted a Divock Origi cross past his own goalkeeper, and by half-time Liverpool were 4-0 up, with Salah, Virgil van Dijk and Origi all notching. Pukki was able to reduce the deficit in the second half, and in truth Norwich were far from embarrassed by the final whistle.
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Players to watch: Todd Cantwell & Roberto Firmino
Aged 21, Cantwell is a skilful attacking midfielder who is capable of getting forward and scoring – he’s the team’s second-leading marksman with six – and creating goals. His contribution this season and last have been such that Norwich have barely missed James Maddison, and there are similarities in how the two play. The Canaries will need to prepare for interest from other clubs whether or not they are relegated, but with Cantwell capped by England at every level up to Under-21, he’ll carry a hefty price tag.
Liverpool can be considered lucky to have such an embarrassment of attacking riches that Firmino is often something of an afterthought. The Brazilian forward is not a conventional striker, but scores plenty of goals, while also working as a target man who can bring others into play. Though Salah and Mane score most of the goals, “Bobby” was the man on target when Liverpool won the World Club Championship, and he’s certainly a player to watch here.