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Dublin: 16 °C Monday 18 June, 2018


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Norwich City 0-3 Liverpool

Welcome to the final Premier League game of the day. We’ll be honest, it isn’t exactly up there with the fractiousness, need and desperation of what happened elsewhere today. But that’s not to say there isn’t anything at stake. Liverpool, for one, need to find a bit of form – or, at the very least, goals – ahead of the FA Cup final. To a certain degree, some players are also fighting for their future at the club. It’s been reported that Kenny Dalglish only has £20m to spend this summer meaning they may have to be comings and goings…

The teams

Norwich: Ruddy, Naughton, Ryan Bennett, Ward, Drury, Elliott Bennett, Howson, Fox, Johnson, Pilkington, Morison. Subs: Steer, Martin, Vaughan, Holt, Surman, Hoolahan, Wilbraham.

Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Agger, Jose Enrique, Downing, Gerrard, Henderson, Shelvey, Bellamy, Suarez. Subs: Doni, Maxi, Coates, Kuyt, Spearing, Kelly, Skrtel.

Referee: Mark Halsey (Lancashire)

Andy Carroll not in the Liverpool squad at all today with Kenny Dalglish giving little away about what the reason for that might be. All he’d say is that it’s an injury and he’ll definitely be back for the FA Cup final.

And we’re off…

It’s an open start here with both teams having started brightly.

Drury’s about to go off for Norwich. But of a blow to their stability early on as he picks up an injury.

Russell Martin on for Drury.

Same old story for Liverpool. A lovely move with Agger feeding Bellamy who then knocks it on for Suarez. His cross looks good but there’s no-one really looking like finishing it. There’s a swing at it, but it goes to waste. It was a divine through ball from Agger.

Carragher trying lofted, Xabi Alonso-esque balls. Yes, it’s that kind of game. A post-season friendly.

GOAL! Norwich 0-1 Liverpool

Perhaps we spoke too soon. Although, to be fair, while Gerrard may have been full of running, Norwich weren’t. The midfielder’s burst forward robbed the ball before playing Luis Suarez in to finish superbly.

Liverpool have stepped it up in the last few minutes. Shelvey, Gerrard and Suarez all looking very lively.

GOAL! Norwich 0-2 Liverpool

Another soft goal to give away from a Norwich point of view but a brilliant one to score from a Liverpool one. Suarez stole the ball, cut in from an angle and absolutely rifled the ball into the far corner. Brilliant.

This is quite slow-paced at the moment. So markedly different to the intensity early on today.

Half-time. Not much has really happened since Liverpool made it two. Norwich look to have given up the ghost. Liverpool look to want to control things for the FA Cup final. Great for them. Poor for the neutral.

As many have said, this game does raise the question over why Gerrard isn’t returning to his old role behind Torres… this time behind Suarez obviously. Quite simply, it’s where he’s best. Absolve him of defensive responsibilities, fully utilise those rampaging attacking aspects.

And the second half is off…

Liverpool letting Norwich back into the game a bit here, who have been improved to be fair, as Bennett forces Reina into a fine save.

Another familiar sight for Liverpool: the woodwork! Shelvey hits it with a header after a Liverpool break ends with a scuffed Suarez shot popping up for the midfielder.

Elliott Bennett fancies his chances today. He’s had a few strikes from outside the box.

Downing does decently, weaving one way, then the other before unleashing a shot. Ruddy tips it away though.

The ball breaks for Suarez and he tries what might have been a sumptuous chip but it’s overhit.

Much like Norwich’s season, this has petered out. Indeed, there’s an argument now that, with 15 minutes left, Dalglish should take off the likes of Suarez and Gerrard to save them for the FA Cup final. Otherwise, it’s been a confidence-boosting game.

GOAL! Norwich City 0-3 Liverpool

Well! What a goal Suarez! What a way to complete a superb hat-trick! The ball is punted up and, just inside the Norwich half with Ruddy off his line, Suarez takes a touch, picks his spot and launches the ball over the goalkeeper towards it. Incredible. That’s the 10th hat-tick of Suarez’s career.

Full-time: that’s it. A facile victory for Liverpool but, to be fair, the goals that secured it were all very difficult to pull off. Three supreme strikes from Suarez, each one an improvement on the one that preceded it. Liverpool can look forward to the FA Cup final now in a calmer frame of mind.


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