Norwich 2 Liverpool 3: Three talking points

Norwich 2 Liverpool 3: Three talking points as Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez find the net

By Liam Garrahan

Liverpool take control in the title race

In what has had to be one of the most inspired loan deals of the season, a Liverpool forward at Sunderland firing his parent club into control of the Premier League title race. Fabio Borini, ushered aside at Liverpool, stepped up and scored the winning goal for Sunderland at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, boosting their own improbable survival hopes and, after today’s result, leaving Chelsea five points off the pace. The crucial match next week between Liverpool and Chelsea is sure to be a cracker. A win for Liverpool would put them within touching distance of their first-ever Premier League trophy, but a win for Chelsea would claw back some pride and put them hot on the heels of the Merseyside outfit, just two points behind them with two to play. Either way, thanks to Sunderland’s efforts first against Manchester City, and then against Chelsea, Liverpool are in complete control.

The new SAS?

A lot of this season’s talk has been dedicated to the SAS striker partnership formed by Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez, but that was broken up today for the first time in three months due to a hamstring injury to Sturridge, giving Raheem Sterling the chance to form his own bond with the unstoppable Uruguayan. In the opening stages, it was Sterling who was the shining light, scoring a stunner within the first four minutes. Then the new bond struck, it was Sterling who put a goal on the plate for Suarez who finished with simple aplomb. Suarez has a history of haunting Norwich and that did not stop today. The 30-goal hit man was spraying passes at will but did not bag his usual hat-trick. Sterling enjoyed free reign of the space between City’s defence and midfield with the Canaries unable to cope with his scorching pace and direct play. There was no better example of this than his second goal where he capitalised on Bradley Johnson’s poor pass before running at the defence and scoring with the aid of a deflection. Norwich would have been buoyed by the lack of the original SAS partnership but this new one asked them a number of questions that they did not have the answer to.

Norwich’s run-in

There’s no doubt about it, Norwich are in trouble. With West Bromwich Albion and Sunderland having a game in hand on them they need to start picking up points and fast, but the fixture list has not been kind to the Canaries. Their last three fixtures see them take on Manchester United and Chelsea away from Carrow Road, followed by an all-guns-blazing Arsenal at home, who will almost certainly need to win to guarantee themselves a spot in next season’s Champions League. With the teams around them playing each other in the remaining fixtures, Norwich will have to pick up results and draw in the losers of those games. On Sunday’s performance, it looks like they have the fight but has it come too late? So the question is: how good are the sides around them? Everyone had written off Fulham before Felix Magath had taken over but now they have given themselves a fighting chance; Cardiff should already be down and out but some heroics from David Marshall have kept them in the mix; Sunderland have given themselves the slimmest of slim hopes of escaping, and with their game in hand being against West Brom a win against them will surely drag the Baggies back into the mix. One thing is for sure though, 32 points will not be enough to save Norwich from relegation.

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