CHRIS Hughton takes his side to Anfield on Saturday as Norwich City lock horns with Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool in the Barclays Premier League.
City have bounced back from a run of defeats over Christmas with an FA Cup victory over Peterborough and a 0-0 draw with Newcastle last weekend, and so will be looking to build on that solid defensive display on Saturday.
The Reds meanwhile come into the match on the back of a narrow 2-1 defeat to Manchester United last time out, but have been in impressive form of late – completing comprehensive home victories over Sunderland and Fulham in recent weeks.
Last season the Canaries rode an early Liverpool storm and a Craig Bellamy goal to roar back and secure a point in a thrilling 1-1 draw – courtesy of Grant Holt’s second half header and some heroic saves from John Ruddy
Goalkeeper John Ruddy
(thigh) is missing for City until March, whilst striker Steve Morison (thigh) also faces a short spell on the side-lines. Steve Whittaker (hip) is likely to miss the clash.
LIVERPOOL: The only absentees for Brendan Rodgers’ side are likely to be full backs Jose Enrique (hamstring) and long-term absentee Martin Kelly (knee).
LAST LINE UPS:
CITY v Newcastle
Russ MARTIN (c),
Manchester United v LIVERPOOL
Steven GERRARD (c),
MANAGER: BREDNAN RODGERS
The 39-year-old Northern Ireland-born manager joined the Reds from Welsh side Swansea City during the summer, after guiding the Swans to an impressive 11th place finish last campaign. Rodgers won many plaudits for his attractive style of play at the Liberty Stadium, and has wasted no time in trying to put his own stamp on the Reds – bringing in midfield man Joe Allen from his old club for a reported £15M and more recently Daniel Sturridge from Stamford Bridge. A former Chelsea youth coach who worked under Jose Mourinho, Rodgers has also managed Watford and Reading.
ONE-TO-WATCH: STEVEN GERRARD
Widely regarded as one of the greatest midfielders of his generation, Gerrard has been a key figure at Anfield for a number of years and has inspired some of the greatest moments in the club’s recent history. The Liverpool captain’s goal in the 2005 Champions League final led to a famous second half comeback against AC Milan, and his stoppage time equaliser against West Ham in the 2006 FA Cup final helped the Reds t0 a shootout victory. The 100-cap England international has won two FA Cups, three league cups, one UEFA Cup, two UEFA Super Cups, and a UEFA Champions League in his time at Anfield and remains one of the Reds’ main threats.
Liverpool v Norwich City
|Liverpool wins||Draws||Norwich City wins|
The Reds have a superior head-to-head record when it comes to games with Norwich, but City have taken points from the 18-times league champions in two of the previous four meetings at Anfield. Last season Grant Holt’s header secured a point in a 1-1 draw, whilst in 1994, Jerry Goss’ goal gave Norwich a famous 1-0 win on the last day of the standing Kop.
TOP LEAGUE SCORERS
CITY: Grant Holt, Robert Snodgrass, Anthony Pilkington – Four league goals
LIVERPOOL: Luis Suarez - 15 league goals
MOST LEAGUE STARTS
CITY: Bradley Johnson – 21 league starts
LIVERPOOL: Steven Gerrard - 22 league starts
REFEREE: Michael Oliver
Northumberland-based referee Michael Oliver will be in charge of City’s clash with Liverpool, the third time he has been the man-in-the-middle for either team this season. He took charge of City’s 5-0 opening day defeat to Fulham, and 4-1 Capital One Cup loss to Aston Villa, whilst he refereed in wins for Liverpool over Southampton and West Brom. The 27-year-old has issued 53 yellow cards and one red card so far this campaign.