STAR PREVIEW: Liverpool v Norwich City

Liverpool were just beaten to the title by Manchester City last season but they will go just as hard again and we could see plenty of goals in their season-opener against Norwich.

Norwich improved massively on their first season under Daniel Farke when winning 34 more points and then the Championship title in a brilliant campaign when a shorter, more intense, style of passing compared to Farke’s first season along with the experienced he’d gained really reaped rewards as they won their last 14 games of the season Big credit must go to the sporting director Stuart Webber too, as a number of astute purchases eventually brought major rewards – over the last two years their net spend is £5m, something that will be paid for many times over by their promotion to the promised land.

Their game excelled on pace out wide, balanced with technical skill in the centres, and the brilliant finishing up top of Teemu Pukki, who won the Championship Golden boot with a brilliant season that saw him score 29 goals.

He might be the shining light but Norwich got plenty from flying fullbacks Jamal Lewis and Max Aarons whilst there were goals from sources other than Pukki; Onel Hernández and Emi Buendía were both constant threats whilst the 10 goals that Mario Vrančić also pitched in with a very helpful ten goals.

We know pretty much all there is to know about Liverpool, and on the evidence of their Community Shield draw with Manchester City. They lost the ‘trophy’ of sorts on penalties but Jurgen Klopp should take plenty of encouragement from their Wembley outing.

Liverpool v Norwich
Premier League
20:00 Sky One / Sky Sports Premier League / Sky Sports Main Event / Sky Sports Ultra HD

HEAD TO HEAD RECORD*
(Maximum 10 matches)
JAN 2016 PREMIER LEAGUE Norwich 4-5 Liverpool
SEP 2015 PREMIER LEAGUE Liverpool 1-1 Norwich
APR 2014 PREMIER LEAGUE Norwich 2-3 Liverpool
DEC 2013 PREMIER LEAGUE Liverpool 5-1 Norwich
JAN 2013 PREMIER LEAGUE Liverpool 5-0 Norwich
SEP 2012 PREMIER LEAGUE Norwich 2-5 Liverpool
APR 2012 PREMIER LEAGUE Norwich 0-3 Liverpool
OCT 2011 PREMIER LEAGUE Liverpool 1-1 Norwich
JAN 2005 PREMIERSHIP Norwich 1-2 Liverpool
SEP 2004 PREMIERSHIP Liverpool 3-0 Norwich

Liverpool went behind but looked to end the game stronger, putting in an impressive second-half performance that saw them win the shout count 13-3 in the second 45 minutes. Virgil van Dijk hit the underside of the bar and Mo Salah hit a post along with two other strong chances including a header that brought about an incredibly acrobatic clearance from Kyle Walker.

In the end, it was probably unfair for Liverpool to ‘lose’ but missed chances aside, they ought to be very happy with that performance – a showing which suggests they can push Manchester City once again this season. Jurgen Klopp often has his sides geared up for the beginning of the season and it bodes well that nine of the XI who started the Champions League final in June took to the field at Wembley.

It all points to them being able to rock and roll from the start here against a Norwich side that might try to play on the front foot. Last season Liverpool started with a 4-0 win over West Ham and whilst it would be a surprise if this was as one sided as that particular encounter was, we could see plenty of goals. Norwich went forward a great deal last season and they earned plenty of reward for it – they had an astonishing 48% of their games go over 3.5 goals last season, and that might be the play here.

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