Liverpool return to Premier League action on Saturday when they travel to face Norwich City as they look to continue their remarkable start to the season.
The Canaries currently sit at the foot of the table — they have failed to capitalise on a promising start to the season and now find themselves seven points from safety. Relegation looms large if they don’t start picking up wins soon.
Liverpool fortunes have been quite different to those of their opponents. A win on Saturday would secure a place in next season’s Champions League while also ensuring that they have a mammoth 25-point lead until Wednesday, when Man City play West Ham United.
Due to the two-week break, the recent results of both clubs should not have an effect on the game. Momentum may be lost after such a long break, but the mentality and goals in both sets of players will remain the same — for Liverpool to win the Premier League, and Norwich to avoid relegation.
Norwich earned a point away to Newcastle despite being the underdogs heading into the game. The home side rarely tested Tim Krul in goal and it was a Canaries player who came closest to giving Newcastle the lead — centre-back Grant Hanley deflected the ball towards his own net, but Krul was fully alert and pushed it around for a corner.
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Martin Dúbravka produced fine saves to stop Sam Byram and Teemu Pukki giving Norwich the lead in the first half, The Canaries did have an effort cleared off the line late in the second half as they pushed for a much needed three points, but a lack of composure in front of goal proved costly once again as they were left with only a point to show for their efforts.
Liverpool extended their lead at the top of the table after Tottenham Hotspur defeated Manchester City a day after the Reds ran out 4-0 winners against Southampton.
The Saints’ performance at Anfield was among the best that the home crowd has seen from an away side for at least two seasons. Ralph Hasenhüttl side were fearless in attack and caused Liverpool many problems in the first half. A large majority of Southampton’s efforts on goal came from our own mistakes.
They were the better side in the first half, but it is quite rare for Liverpool to be on the back foot for a whole 90 minutes. Minutes into the second half, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain gave the Reds the lead following a counter-attack. Jordan Henderson doubled the advantage with 30 minutes to go before a brace from Mohamed Salah rounded off the scoring.
Norwich City have no new injury concerns and should have all players available for selection to face Liverpool.
Tim Krul will start in goal ahead of a back four consisting of Jamal Lewis, Christoph Zimmerman, Grant Hanley and Max Aarons.
In a deep lying midfield pivot will likely be Kenny McLean and veteran Alex Tettey. Highly-rated duo Emi Buendía and Todd Cantwell may well sit alongside loanee Lukas Rupp slightly further up the pitch.
Teemu Pukki will start as a lone forward — he may get little service but will test Alisson if he is afforded a shot on goal.
Jürgen Klopp has a fully fit squad to choose from for the first time this season. The months of December and January are certainly the most demanding months in the season, but from now until the end of the season is where the stakes are at the highest with silverware to play for.
Having a full squad to choose from will allow Klopp to battle on three fronts as he looks to become only the second manager in England to win the treble.
Liverpool should only make one changed to the side that beat Southampton by four goals. The back five who have only conceded once in their last ten games will look to continue their remarkable defensive run on Saturday.
Jordan Henderson’s influence on the team has been growing over the past couple of weeks — he was dominant in the win away to Wolves and he added another goal and assist against Southampton.
Sadio Mané will likely return to the side after a short absence due to injury.
Liverpool should comfortably win this game due to the position of the two clubs in the table — they also boast an impressive record against teams in the bottom half of the table. The last time they dropped points against such a team was Stoke City in April 2018.
Norwich have had trouble scoring goals this season, especially when they come up against a very compact defence who rarely give you the chance to get within close proximity of the goal. With a lack of creativity it is hard to see them scoring on Saturday.
Salah and Firmino are in excellent form and with a returning Sadio Mané Liverpool could score a handful of goals at Carrow Road. An important Champions League tie against Atlético Madrid takes place on Tuesday so getting a healthy lead early on would allow players to be rested.