Liverpool-Norwich City Wrap: Reds, Canaries Draw Amid Anfield Frustration

Liverpool was supposed to use its home game against Norwich City to turn its season into a positive direction. Instead, it treated its fans to more frustration.

Liverpool and Norwich City played to a 1-1 draw in a Premier League game on Saturday at Anfield. Danny Ings gave Liverpool the lead three minutes into the second half, but Norwich defender Russell Martin tied later in the period. Neither side managed to score the winner, and the teams earned a point apiece in the standings. The Reds will be disappointed, having drawn against the newly promoted Canaries. Norwich City will celebrate the result.

We’d be telling a different type of story if Liverpool profited from the stages of the game it dominated, but Brendan Rodgers’ side didn’t create enough chances from its possession and should have done more from those it fashioned. Norwich City goalkeeper John Ruddy deserves credit for making six saves and holding Liverpool to a solitary goal. More important to the outcome was Liverpool’s players’ lack of sharpness in the final third.

Rodgers’ Reds still are suffering from Jordan Henderson’s absence, but Daniel Sturridge made his long-awaited return to action, following a five-month injury layoff. Sturridge was a surprise starter alongside Christian Benteke in a new-look 3-4-1-2 system that Rodgers devised in order to field his leading players and maintain appropriate balance in the team.

The tactical approach seemed to work well, as Liverpool was in control from around the 15th minute until the interval. The Reds hogged possession and pinned Norwich City inside its own half for most of the period, but a few half-hearted penalty appeals and some missed opportunities in front of goal was all they had to show for their best spells in the contest. Sturridge’s rust was apparent, and his partnership with Benteke only is in its nascent stage.

Shock gave way to elation within minutes of the start of the second half. Benteke’s hamstring tightened in the first half, and Rodgers replaced him with Ings, who scored three minutes later. Alberto Moreno marked his impressive overall performance by assisting on Ings’ first goal for the club. Ings did well to control Moreno’s long pass and slip it under Ruddy.

A second goal probably would have allowed Liverpool to coast to victory. Philippe Coutinho missed the top corner in the 55th minute, and Norwich City’s travelling fans were celebrating just six minutes later when Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet failed to punch a corner kick out of danger. The ensuing re-entry pass fell to Russell Martin, who looped the ball over Mignolet into the goal.

Coutinho had another golden opportunity to score — this time in the 78th minute — but the Brazilian was indecisive in the face of the charging Ruddy and watched in agony as the Norwich City goalkeeper stopped his effort from point-blank range.

Liverpool never seriously threatened after Coutinho’s miss. Ings largely was isolated after Sturridge’s 63rd-minute removal, and Norwich contained the sputtering Reds until the final whistle.

Liverpool had won nine of its last 10 games against Norwich City. Nobody told the visitors a Liverpool victory was a forgone conclusion. The Reds endured more frustration, instead, and watched the first home draw in league play in over nine months.

Liverpool and Norwich City now are tied on eight points after six games. That’s a good enough return for Norwich City, but nowhere near what Liverpool hopes to have in the bank at this point in the campaign.

Thumbnail photo via Martin Rickett/Press Association/The Associated Press

Thumbnail photo via Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho, center, has his shot saved by Norwich City goalkeeper John Ruddy, left, during their English Premier League soccer match at Anfield, Liverpool, England, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015. (Martin Rickett/PA via AP)

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