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20:53 22nd October 2011


A THUMPING header from Grant Holt in his 100th game for the Club earned the Canaries an impressive point against Liverpool at Anfield,

Trailing 1-0 to former Canary Craig Bellamy's goal in first-half injury time, City raised their game magnificently after the break and Holt rose to power home Anthony Pilkington's curling cross on the hour to level the game.

Liverpool piled forward in the closing stages with Uruguayan international Luis Suarez particularly dangerous, but John Ruddy's wonder-save deep in second half injury time denied him and insured City climbed to seventh in the Barclays Premier League table.

After the game, City boss Paul Lambert said: "I thought in the first half we maybe got a bit of stage-fright in the way we turned up and we never really got going.

"There have been better teams than us though that have come here and got turned over. I was delighted with the way we weathered the storm and then they got a silly goal at the death of the first half. But then in the second haf we went out with a bit more belief and I thought we played exceptionally well second half.

"Grant's been massive for us in the last two years and will continue to be so. I thought Morison again was outstanding as well.

"There's not many teams that come here and get anything that's for sure, but I think it was well justified with the way we played."

City's starting line-up remained the same for the fifth game running, with the Canaries having claimed three wins out of those previous four encounters.

Liverpool welcomed back England international Glen Johnson from injury and there was a second consecutive start for captain Steven Gerrard. It was also an emotional day for the home side with the 96 victims of the Hillsborough remembered before the game after this week news that the government would release papers detailing the tragedy 22 years ago.

And the Reds had the first opportunity of the game when in the second minute a Charlie Adam corner was met by Martin Skrtel at the near post, his header cannoning off the crossbar and away.

Luis Suarez went close three minutes later knocking it just past John Ruddy's near post having slipped through and carving himself out a good shooting position.

The Uruguayan was on the end of another good Liverpool move on 11 minutes, this time forcing Ruddy to tip the ball onto his bar and Stewart Downing just hitting the rebound wide.

City were finding it hard to keep possession with Wes Hoolahan and Anthony Pilkington proving their main outlets, and it was the former who was found down the left on 16 minutes, but the Irishman's diagonal shot was blocked at the far post by Pepe Reina and his defenders managed to run the ball out of the danger area.

The Canaries won their first corner on 21 minutes after good passing build-up - the Reds forced to concede the set piece after Anthony Pilkington rose to get on the end of Kyle Naughton's right-wing cross into the box, Johnson and Jamie Carragher challenging the former Huddersfield man. David Fox's delivery to the near post saw Steve Morison rise but Reina was there to collect comfortably.

Suarez was proving the main dangerman for Liverpool and the Canaries survived several offside decisions, with Leon Barnett playing well at the heart of the defence making some important challenges.

On 34 minutes Tierney conceded a free-kick on the far right edge of City's box, catching Downing when making a block and picking up the first booking of the game. The former Middlesbrough man tried a curling effort but City's defence blocked his attempt, and again on the follow-up to deny the Reds an opening.

However, the home side kept knocking on the door, Russell Martin forced to concede yet another corner after Suarez looked to have nipped in behind the Canary line and square the ball across the six yard box. The South American then headed a Downing cross straight into the arms of Ruddy six minutes before the break.

Hoolahan and Morison combined well on the left to win a corner with less than two minutes of the half to go, but Fox's delivery was too strong to find a yellow shirt in the box.

But unfortunately with just a minute of extra time signalled Liverpool took a lead into the half-time break through former Canary Craig Bellamy.

A long ball over the top saw Suarez and Russell Martin battling for the ball, referee Peter Walton played advantage after he felt the Reds forward was fouled, but Bellamy took hold of the ball and ran into the box before hitting a low shot which Tierney got a block on, but unfortunately not enough to stop it going into the back of the net.

Half-time: Liverpool 1, Norwich City 0

Two minutes into the second period Pilkington tested Reina after he turned on the edge of the penalty area and hit a low right-footed shot, but the Spanish 'keeper got down well to deny the City man.

Four minutes later Suarez went close to doubling Liverpool's lead, jinking his way into the box, but Martin just got a toe to the ball and it deflected his effort on to the foot of the post and away to the relief of the Yellow Army behind the goal.

The Reds went close yet again through Bellamy and Tierney had to be alert at the far post to make a vital interception.

On 56 minutes came the first change of the game, Paul Lambert exchanging Elliott Bennett for Grant Holt who came on for his 100th appearance for the Club, and City's number nine joined Morison up front.

And it proved a decisive substitution when just four minutes later the Club Captain struck to put the Canaries level - rising to meet Pilkington's cross with a bullet header past Reina.

The Canaries were growing in confidence and Holt forced Reina into yet another good save on 65 minutes, the Reds stopper just managing to get a hand to Holt's cross-goal header as he was travelling in the opposite direction.

Both teams were now looking for the win and the atmosphere duly cranked up a notch.

Liverpool's first change came on 69 minutes when goalscorer Bellamy was replaced with former Sunderland forward Jordan Henderson.

On 78 minutes Barnett's slip looked to have let Suarez in but Ruddy just managed to see his attempt past the post for a corner. Then just moments later City broke, Holt racing towards goal, but under pressure from Skrtel his pass was just a little too strong for the on-rushing Pilkington and it gave Reina time and space to race out and clear his lines.

With 10 minutes left Liverpool made their second substitution of the match, this time £35m striker Andy Carroll replacing Stewart Downing.

Drama came on 81 minutes when a high ball into City's box was gathered by Carroll and although the Canaries claimed a push play continued and Suarez picked up the ball and hit the foot of the post only to see yet another offside flag go up to the dismay of the majority of Anfield.

With five minutes left the Reds claimed a penalty when Barnett and Adam collided in the box but the referee waved away appeals and gave City the free-kick.

Then at the other end a last-ditch block by Skrtel steered Holt's effort from the edge of the box away from his goal.

City fans had to hang on to their hats at the end with two injury-time Liverpool corners and an Andy Carroll header which went just inches wide of Ruddy's far post. And they had to be thankful to the Canary number one who pulled off a world class save from Suarez right at the death to secure a vital away Premier League point.

Final score
: Liverpool 1, Norwich City 1

: Reina, Johnson, Enrique, Suarez, Gerrard (c), Kuyt (Agger 90), Downing (Carroll 80), Carragher, Adam, Skrtel, Bellamy (Henderson 69). Subs not used: Doni, Maxi, Henderson, Spearing, Flanagan.
: Ruddy, R. Martin, Johnson, Morison, Pilkington (Crofts 90), Hoolahan (c), Fox, Bennett (Holt 56), Barnett, Tierney, Naughton. Subs not used: Rudd, Jackson, Surman, Wilbraham, De Laet.

Attendance: 44, 931
    Data provided by Press Association


    Did you know Norwich City Football Club have appeared in three Wembley cup finals?