Venue: Carrow Road
Kick-off: 12:00 (BST)
Relegation battlers Norwich City welcome title challengers Liverpool to Carrow Road on Sunday, in a match which can be considered a must-win for both sides.
Despite spending substantially over the summer, Norwich City have not been able to make a step-up to next level that was expected from them this season and have a real fight on their hands to save their Premier League status, with a ridiculously difficult looking end to the season starting with Liverpool on Sunday.
The way Norwich have been playing recently, there is nothing to suggest that they can get anything out of their last four fixtures and new manager Neil Adams is certainly left with almost an impossible looking job to save the Canaries. However, stranger things have happened in football and teams fighting at the foot of the table tend to raise their game – so Norwich are sure give it all they have got against Liverpool.
Much like Norwich, Liverpool are also desperate for all three points but for very different reasons. Following Liverpool’s emotional victory over Manchester City last week, Brendan Rodgers is on the verge on doing something truly remarkable by claiming the Premier League title after a painful 24 year wait for the Reds.
Nevertheless, the job is not done yet and their dream could easily turn into a nightmare if Liverpool let complacency creep into their game as they simply do not have any margin for error with Chelsea and Manchester City breathing down their necks. Therefore, the Reds need to be completely focused on the game and not let nerves get the better of them in the final sprint for the title, starting off against Norwich City.
Except for the injured Joseph Yobo, Adams will have his strongest lineup to choose from, which is certainly good news. The Canaries manager decided to make a raft of changes in his side’s defeat at the hands of Fulham last week and the 48-year old could once again make a lot changes against Liverpool on Sunday as well.
John Ruddy will start in goal for the Canaries while Steven Whittaker, Russell Martin, Michael Turner and Martin Olsson will probably start in defence. The likes of Ryan Bennett, Javier Garrido and Sebastian Bassong are also in contention.
Adams fielded a 4-4-2 formation against Fulham last week but he is most likely to revert back to a 4-5-1 to negate the threat posed by the dangerous Liverpool attack. Leroy Fer, Bradley Johnson and Jonny Howson should start in midfield while Nathan Redmond and Robert Snodgrass will most likely be providing the creative spark.
Ricky van Wolfswinkel started last week but after his ineffectual performance, Gary Hooper may be reinstated to the squad in favour of the Dutchman, while Johan Elmander and Luciano Becchio also provide options.
Rodgers will be without the services of his two key players in Jordan Henderson and Daniel Sturridge, with the former out with suspension while the latter is out with an injury. Jose Enrique and Sebastian Coates are also definitely ruled out.
Simon Mignolet will once again start in goal for the Reds and the Belgian international will be shielded by the back four consisting of Jon Flanagan, Martin Skrtel, Mamadou Sakho and Glen Johnson. The likes of Daniel Agger, Kolo Toure and Aly Cissokho will also be pushing for starts as well.
In the probable absence of both Henderson and Sturridge, Rodgers may elect to give both Joe Allen and Lucas a start alongside the inspirational Steven Gerrard in midfield, while the creative spark will be provided by the sensational duo of Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho.
Luis Suarez simply loves playing against Norwich, having scored a sensational 11 goals in 4 appearances against the Canaries and he will undoubtedly be looking to continue his great run of form on Sunday as well.
Norwich City (Probable XI): Ruddy; Whittaker, Turner, Martin, Olsson; Snodgrass, Fer, Johnson, Howson, Redmond; Hooper
Liverpool (Probable XI): Mignolet; Flanagan, Skrtel, Sakho, Johnson; Coutinho, Lucas, Allen, Gerrard, Sterling; Suarez
Norwich City: L W L L L
Liverpool: W W W W W
05/12/2013 Liverpool 5 – 1 Norwich City
19/01/2013 Liverpool 5 – 0 Norwich City
It certainly does not take genius to work out who is favourite heading into the clash at Carrow Road on Sunday. Norwich City are in a horrendous run of form while Liverpool are currently going through their best ever run in the Premier League.
On top of that, Liverpool have scored a whopping 18 goals in their last four matches against Norwich City, with Suarez grabbing a Premier League record three hat-tricks.
The stats simply lead to nothing else than a comprehensive Liverpool win. However, football matches can hardly be predicted through just stats and considering that Norwich City have all to play for themselves, one can be sure that they will not allow Liverpool to just roll them over.
Liverpool on the other should be careful not to let complacency creep into their game because if they end of dropping points on Sunday, they might regret it for a very long time.
The match will not be as easy as the stats point out to be for Liverpool but the Reds simply have too much quality and too much at stake to let this one slip and should claim a victory due to their immense quality in attack.
Norwich City 1 – 3 Liverpool
TV Info: NBC Sports Network