Norwich City 0 Liverpool 3: Suarez hat-trick complete with 'Beckham chip' secures routine win
18:44 GMT, 28 April 2012
Luis Suarez netted a stunning hat-trick as Liverpool warmed up for the FA Cup final with a comfortable 3-0 win at Norwich.
The Uruguayan struck twice in the space of four minutes midway through the first half to put the Reds in command.
Kiss the ring: Liverpool's Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez celebrates his first
NORWICH: Ruddy, Naughton, Bennett, Ward, Drury (Martin 12), Bennett, Howson, Fox (vaughan 46), Johnson, Pilkington, Morison. Unused subs: Steer, Holt, Surman, Hoolahan, Wilbraham.
Booked: Ward, Howson.
LIVERPOOL: Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Agger, Enrique, Downing, Gerrard, Henderson, Shelvey, Bellamy, Suarez. Unused subs: Doni, Maxi, Coates, Kuyt, Spearing, Kelly, Skrtel.
Goals: Suarez 24, 28, 82
Referee: Mark Halsey
After Norwich – who are all but
secure of a place in the Barclays Premier League heading into their
final two games – rallied briefly, Suarez completed his treble eight
minutes from time with an audacious lob from just inside the Norwich
half to give Kenny Dalglish's men the perfect tonic ahead of their
Wembley date with Champions League finalists Chelsea next Saturday.
Reds captain Steven Gerrard had been
restored to the starting XI after being rested for last weekend's
disappointing home defeat by West Brom which was a seventh in 10 Premier
The Carrow Road pitch had been
drenched for several hours this afternoon, making for testing conditions
during the opening exchanges.
Whipping it in: Elliott Bennett crosses the ball despite the attentions of Jordan Henderson and Jose Enrique
Norwich winger Anthony Pilkington
slipped as he looked to cut back inside after getting clear down the
left, before keeper John Ruddy was also on the floor at the edge of the
penalty area as the ball squirmed loose.
On eight minutes, Norwich left-back Adam Drury pulled up with a groin injury and was eventually replaced by Russell Martin.
Double trouble: Suarez thumps home a quick second goal
Despite Liverpool having the better
of possession, Norwich fashioned the first real opening when Pilkington
got away down the left again, and his low centre was hacked clear by
Jamie Carragher with Steve Morison waiting at the back post.
Craig Bellamy – who came through the
Norfolk club's youth team before being sold to Coventry for 6.5million
in August 2000 – moved down the Norwich left and floated a cross into
the area, but Stewart Downing lost his footing and somehow could only
hack the ball back out of the box.
Wing wizards: Liverpool's Stewart Downing (right) and Kyle Naughton flying high
The visitors went in front on 24
minutes. Gerrard battled to win the ball out on the left from David Fox,
and fed Suarez, who took one touch on into the Norwich area before
lashing home into the top-right corner.
It was almost 2-0 soon after when
Suarez stretched the hosts again down the right and crossed for Gerrard,
whose goalbound effort hit Ryan Bennett and flew behind, as the Reds
appealed for what would have been a harsh handball against the defender.
Enjoy the trip: Jonny Howson is brought down by Liverpool's Craig Bellamy
Liverpool, though, did double their
lead on 28 minutes. Again Suarez was proving too much for the Norwich
defence to handle, as this time he robbed Elliott Ward following a short
pass out on the right and darted into the box, before this time
drilling a low strike across Ruddy and into the bottom corner.
Liverpool's quick double salvo had silenced the home crowd and the visitors were now in cruise control heading into half-time.
Norwich made a change for the start
of the second period as former Everton striker James Vaughan, back from a
series of niggling injuries, replaced Fox. It was a lively return by
the home side, who forced a couple of corners.
Just like policemen: Norwich players are not getting younger… it just seems that way.
Elliott Bennett forced Jose Reina
into a full-stretch save with a fierce 20-yard strike, while Bradley
Johnson glanced his header wide from the resulting corner.
Liverpool almost put the game beyond
Norwich on 51 minutes when was played in down the right and his cross
caused panic in the Norwich six-yard box before Jonjo Shelvey headed
against the crossbar.
The former Charlton midfielder then somehow failed to make contact with a low ball across the face of goal from Jose Enrique.
Write caption here
Ruddy made another good stop to deny Downing as the England man cut in from the right and flashed in a low shot.
As the hour mark passed, it was all Liverpool. Suarez was played through on goal in the 65th minute.
However, the Uruguay forward tried a
cheeky chip from 12 yards, which floated over the keeper and cleared the
crossbar – much to the amusement of the Norwich faithful behind the
With 15 minutes left, Norwich sent
on captain Grant Holt, who had scored in the 1-1 draw at Anfield earlier
this season, as he replaced Morison.
Bradley Johnson let fly from 25
yards, but was well off target, which just about summed up the
afternoon's display by the home side.
Suarez completed his hat-trick on 82
minutes as this time his perfectly-weighted lob over Ruddy from just
inside the Norwich half dropped into the net.