Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool host Dean Smith’s relegation-threatened side Norwich City at Anfield, on Sunday, in the reverse fixture of the tie from the opening matchday of the Premier League season.
While Liverpool are the side to beat with the current form they are in – with a 10 match unbeaten run and a 7 match winning streak, across all competitions. Norwich City, on the other hand, are in a danger to get relegated to the Championship.
Although, since Dean Smith’s appointment, the Canaries have looked much more stable with the overall balance of the play. They still have a long way to go before the end of the season. Until then, every game is a must win one if they want to stay up in the top tier, next season.
When & Where?
Date- Sunday 18th February 2022.
Time- 3 PM GMT.
If we analyze the last 4-5 games of the Reds we can see that the players are moving more freely throughout the pitch. Star players like Henderson, Robertson, Mane, who were being called out for underperforming, even they are opening up and gaining momentum, slowly but surely.
Having a full squad since February has helped Jurgen Klopp, and Liverpool, in maintaining their rhythm. As the criticisms started pouring on, on the team, the whole squad has stepped up and silenced the doubters. Klopp has been able to answer all the blows thrown at him by the opposition managers, through constant improvisation of tactics. Be it against a team whose main tactic is to sit back and hit on the counter or pounce on your mistakes, like Burnley. Or be it against a side like Inter who play a free-flowing football; play it from the back and can catch you napping. Liverpool have beaten them all.
The Reds have become a free-scoring side, while not letting their opponents the slightest opening to score. Everyone is coming to the fore, even the newly bought Luis Diaz is showing his mettle. Though the Columbian has not played a lot of matches, it is enough to see what he is made of and how important it was for Klopp and Liverpool to sign him.
Going into the match on Sunday, in front of the home fans, Jurgen Klopp and Co. will be looking to close the gap on top of the Premier League table when they will host a relegation-threatened Norwich. Man City are looking unstoppable, true. But the Kopites know, it is not over until it is really over.
Relegation-threatened Norwich City can put up a daring show
Since the appointment of Dean Smith as the head coach, there is seen a new buzz in and around the Norwich camp. Everyone got angst by the thought of getting relegated back to the Championship. This is when the Canaries were hit by a drought. Whatever they did ended up in a loss for them. 6 losses in the first 6 game weeks of the new season. It was only at that time Daniel Farke, former boss, knew that his time at Carrow Road is nearing the end.
However, you can say that nothing much has changed from the overall perspective. They are still in the relegation zone. But, those who have been following Norwich closely enough, they know how vital Dean Smith’s inclusion as the head coach has been. Prior to their last week’s loss against the table toppers, Manchester City. Norwich had won 3 out of their 4 games in the League. Including a 2-1 win against Everton.
Dean Smith knew he had a difficult task at hand when he was handed the opportunity to lead the Canaries out of the relegation zone, back in November. And even his appointment was not all merrier from the start. It has been a collective effort from the players, and the newly appointed manager, to come to this stage where they can have hopes of staying. Now, they are travelling to Anfield on Sunday. Even a point away at Anfield, against a team of Liverpool’s stature will mean a victory for the faithful travelling fans. And a step in the right direction for Dean Smith’s side.
Jurgen Klopp has been enjoying the pleasure of the full squad for weeks, up until now. The in-form Portuguese forward, Diogo Jota took a blow in the match against Inter Milan. Jota was taken off at halftime, due to a swollen ankle. Adding to this, Diogo Jota might not even return to play in the Carabao Cup Final for the Reds against Chelsea.
Other than this, there are no more concerns for the Reds at the moment. Klopp is in the rare position of having no injury concerns, given they will face Leeds in the midweek as well. Further, all the players are returning their manager’s show of faith in them. Diaz has been showing his class, Firmino is contributing to the team’s free-scoring form. It is looking good for the hosts.
Meanwhile, Dean Smith and Norwich have more injury concerns than their hosts with Tim Krul and Jacob Sorensen still out of the team due to injuries.
Adam Izah and Rupp could both be back for the clash, while Ozan Kabak could get a start on his return to Anfield should he recover from illness in time.
Liverpool predicted XI – Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Keita; Salah, Firmino, Diaz.
Norwich City predicted XI – Gunn; Aarons, Hanley, Gibson, Williams; Gilmour, Lees-Melou, McLean; Sargent, Pukki, Rashica.