Premier League - Classy Liverpool thump poor Norwich

Premier League, Anfield – Liverpool 5 (Henderson 26, Suarez 36, Sturridge 59, Gerrard 66, Sterling 75) Norwich City 0.

Liverpool bounced back from defeat to their bitterest rivals with a 5-0 thrashing of Norwich City at Anfield in the Premier League.

After their 2-1 loss at Manchester United last weekend, Brendan Rodgers got the required response as his charges blew away a lacklustre Norwich.

Jordan Henderson opened the scoring with the pick of a classy bunch, and while there was no hat-trick for Luis Suarez he did add the second after a fine stepover from Daniel Sturridge, who made it 3-0 in the second half to maintain an excellent start to life at Anfield.

Steven Gerrard hit a trademark fourth, while substitute Raheem Sterling completed the rout with a deflected finish.

The result sees Liverpool move up a place to seventh, although West Brom could leapfrog them later, while slumping Norwich are without a win in six.

Liverpool dominated possession – tipping the scales at a Barcelona-esque 70 per cent – and opportunities, with two dozen attempts on goal as Norwich mustered just one effort on target all game.

But the Canaries really should have taken the lead with that chance when, from a Robert Snodgrass free-kick, Ryan Bennett put a free header weakly at Brad Jones, who was filling in for the injured Pepe Reina.

Otherwise it was all Liverpool, Stewart Downing and Suarez going close before the hosts took a deserved lead on 26 minutes.

After Suarez failed to get his shot away, a loose ball sprung up off Elliott Bennett and Henderson reacted with a ferocious drive into the top right from outside the box.

The much-maligned former Sunderland midfielder’s first league goal of the season instigated a sustained onslaught that saw him go close with a similar effort from even further out.

And on 36 minutes Lucas drilled a through-ball from his own half that Sturridge delightfully stepped over to release Suarez, who raced clear to continue his fine goalscoring record against Norwich with a cool finish into the bottom right.

Norwich had barely turned up in the first half so they needed to start the second period with more attacking intent.

They did just that, seeing more of the ball in the five minutes after the restart than they had for much of the opening 45. They almost scored too, with Grant Holt completely missing the ball is he slid in to meet Alexander Tettey’s mis-hit shot.

That seemed to spark Liverpool back into life as they switched to a more controlling tempo to put the pressure back on Norwich.

Just before the hour mark the hosts got their third as Sturridge made it three in three matches since joining from Chelsea with a tap-in from a superb first-time Downing cross.

That killed off Norwich’s hopes of a comeback, Gerrard extending the lead in style with a rasping low effort from the edge of the box after an excellent run from Glen Johnson.

Sterling, benched for Sturridge, made an instant impact as he cut inside from the left wing before drilling a low effort that went in off Ryan Bennett.

It appeared to be on target, but the dubious goals committee will need to confirm whether the England winger is credited with the strike.

There was still a quarter of an hour left but both sides seemed happy to play out the latter stages as the visiting fans fled in their droves.

The win is Liverpool's sixth in nine matches, with the signing of Sturridge apparently the missing link for Rodgers, while Norwich need to make some shrewd signings if they are to avoid being dragged into a relegation scrap.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Daniel Sturridge – Liverpool: Rewarded with his first start since joining from Chelsea, the England forward scored again and helped Suarez with a fantastic step-over. A revelation.

PLAYER RATINGS

LIVERPOOL: Jones 6, Wisdom 7, Johnson 7, Carragher 7, Agger 7, Lucas 7, Gerrard 8, Henderson 8, Suarez 8, Downing 8, Sturridge 8; Subs: Allen N/A, Borini 6, Sterling 7

NORWICH CITY: Bunn 6, R. Martin 5, R. Bennett 5, Turner 5, Garrido 6, E. Bennett 5, Johnson 5, Tettey 6, Snodgrass 6, Howson 5, Holt 5; Subs: Pilkington N/A, Hoolahan 6

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