Liverpool v Norwich: Preview & team news

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Updated: October 22, 2011

Saturday’s evening kick off see’s Liverpool welcome their first newly promoted side to Anfield with Norwich the visitors.

Following the disappointing draw against a weakened Manchester United side Kenny Dalglish will be keen to get back to winning ways and keep the pressure on fourth place Newcastle United.

With no European football on Merseyside this season, the midweek break was a chance to quench the flames of the Evra/Suarez affair as well as take part in a friendly game with Rangers.

The game at Ibrox, which the Reds lost 1-0, was a chance for some of Liverpool’s fringe players to get some needed game time. The likes of Danny Wilson, Daniel Agger and Doni all started, with Charlie Adam, Jordan Henderson and Andy Carroll all featuring.

Suarez meanwhile will head into the clash with the Canaries looking to repay the faith of his boss who gave his full backing following claims of racist abuse against Patrice Evra in the aftermath of the United match last weekend, the Scot saying “The only thing I will say – and then it is put to bed – is that the football club and everyone at the football club is totally and utterly fully behind Luis Suarez”

“There was an allegation after the game about him diving all over the place and there was an allegation from Patrice Evra.

“Obviously the two things are emotive but we support the wee man on both things.

“At the start of the week the club made their position known and apart from what I have said we won’t be adding to it.

“We are fully looking forward to a complete, transparent report from the FA and we will co-operate 100%.”

Steven Gerrard looks set to make his second start of the season for Liverpool with the likes of Craig Bellamy and Glen Johnson in contention to start.

Johnson who has just returned following injury might have to settle for a place on the bench however with Martin Kelly currently holding court at right back with Bellamy could force his way in ahead of Dirk Kuyt following the Dutchman’s abject performances against United.

With no injuries to contend with the only absentee will be the suspended Lucas meanwhile a first pairing of Charlie Adam and Gerrard in the middle.

Andy Carroll should return up front alongside Suarez as Liverpool revert to a 4-4-2 with Downing on the left and either Bellamy or Kuyt on the right.

Norwich meanwhile look set to name the same side for the fifth successive game with James Vaughan (knee) and Daniel Ayala (knee) still out and doubt over the fitness of both Zak Whitbread (knee) and Elliott Ward (ankle).

Anthony Pilkington will be hoping he can continue the fine form he showed against Swansea last week. The former Huddersfield player scored two goals as Paul Lambert’s side won 3-1 to climb to 9th in the table just three points behind Liverpool.

Norwich have earned praise for their style of football and but for some better composure in front of goal might have come away from their recent trip to Old Trafford with a little more than some plaudits.

Strike Steve Morison, like Pilkington, is another player with no previous top flight experience who has adapted well to the Premier League and the former Millwall striker will once again be asked to plough a lonely furrow up front with support coming from Irishman Wes Hoolahan.

Liverpool will be expected to win this one and with games coming up against WBA and Swansea, the manager and fans will be looking to build up a head of steam coming into the winter. That said Norwich won’t make it easy and if they can replicate their form at Old Trafford albeit with some better finishing, a shock could very well be on the cards.

Stats: Liverpool have lost just one of their last 14 league games at home, while a promoted team has tasted victory at Anfield on just one occasion since the 2003/04 season – 24 matches. Norwich has won just one in the last 34 away games in the top-flight, and has lost the last four league meetings with Liverpool.

Probable Starting line up: Reina (GK); Kelly, Carragher, Agger, Enrique; Bellamy, Gerrard(c), Adam, Downing; Suarez, Carroll

Probable Starting line up: Ruddy; Naughton, Barnett, Martin, Tierney; Bennett, Fox, Johnson, Pilkington, Hoolahan(c); Morison

Verdict: Liverpool 3-1

Nominated for 2011 Realex Web Awards

www.victorchandler.com

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