Premier League

Liverpool 3-1 Norwich City: Player ratings as Reds move six points off top spot

Grey Whitebloom
Mohamed Salah celebrates the goal that put Liverpool ahead in their Premier League victory over Norwich City
Mohamed Salah celebrates the goal that put Liverpool ahead in their Premier League victory over Norwich City / Gareth Copley/GettyImages

A heavily rotated Liverpool side avoided an upset as they came from behind to earn a 3-1 Premier League victory at home to relegation-battling Norwich City on Saturday afternoon.

Jurgen Klopp made seven changes to the side that defeated Inter 2-0 in the Champions League three days earlier.

Norwich - with just one alteration to the lineup that were swept aside by Manchester City last week - flew out of the blocks; targeting the yawning chasms behind Liverpool's famously high, but thoroughly well-drilled, backline (just as Klopp had warned pre-game).

However, Liverpool's new-look lineup was still laced with the attacking fluency that has earned the team a division-high goal tally. Kostas Tsimikas missed a glaring opportunity in the opening five minutes while Mohamed Salah had a header cleared off the line in a first half which saw the hosts rack up 15 shots to two.

Despite their dwarfed chance tally, Norwich did squandered one of the first half's clearest sights of goal. Teemu Pukki dragging an effort wide with Liverpool disorganised at the second phase of a set piece.

Three minutes after the interval Liverpool looked to have recovered their shape from an open play transition, However, Milot Rashica - denied in the first half by an offside flag - broke the deadlock with a wickedly deflected effort.

Klopp deconstructed his entirely changed midfield to pile even more pressure on their punchy opponents shortly after the hour mark, tossing on Divock Origi as a fourth forward.

Yet it was the familiar duo of Sadio Mane and Salah that swung the game emphatically back in Liverpool's favour with a pair of goals in 155 seconds. Mane acrobatically converted a 64th-minute equaliser moments before Salah latched onto Alisson's sharp-witted punt forward.

Teasing Norwich's scampering defenders, as he had done all afternoon, Salah took his time before rolling Liverpool ahead for the first time.

Luis Diaz, shifted into a more central position for the final half-hour, sealed Liverpool's eighth consecutive victory across all competitions. Picked out by Jordan Henderson's scalpel through ball, the winter arrival dinked in his first goal for the club within the final ten minutes.

Liverpool player ratings

1. Goalkeeper & defenders

Joe Gomez (left) made his first Premier League start of the season / OLI SCARFF/GettyImages

Alisson (GK) - 6/10 - Hardly at fault for the opening goal, Alisson redeemed some nervy play with his assist for Salah.

Joe Gomez (RB) - 4/10 - In his first Premier League start since November 2020, the lesser-spotted Gomez barely offered anything going forward and was far from assured when forced to turn towards his own goal.

Joel Matip (CB) - 5/10 - Unfortunate that his dangling leg provided a decisive touch to deceive his keeper.

Virgil van Dijk (CB) - 7/10 - Imperious as ever when called into a footrace with any Canary trying to burst in behind.

Kostas Tsimikas (LB) - 7/10 - The self-styled 'Greek Scouser' squandered the chances that fell to his boot but was far more adept at creating for his teammates.

2. Midfielders

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (right) was one of seven changes to Liverpool's starting XI / Gareth Copley/GettyImages

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (CM) - 4/10 - Unsurprisingly the first Liverpool player sacrificed in Klopp's second half rejig.

Jordan Henderson (CM) - 6/10 - A little wanting out of possession but provided arguably the pass of the game to tee up Diaz.

Naby Keita (CM) - 4/10 - Tried to add an extra body by pushing forward but struggled to make a lasting impact on proceedings.

3. Forwards

Mohamed Salah, Ben Gibson
Mohamed Salah was a constant thorn in Norwich's side / Gareth Copley/GettyImages

Mohamed Salah (RW) - 8/10 - Tormenting his opposite fullback with outrageous close control conducted at lightning speed. Has now scored 150 goals for Liverpool.

Sadio Mane (ST) - 7/10 - Took his goal superbly but had his overall impact limited by trying his best to carry out the nuanced link play required of the Liverpool player lining up through the middle.

Luis Diaz (LW) - 7/10 - Bundle of energy every time he got on the ball before finally rewarding his industry with a delicately taken finish.

4. Substitutes

Thiago Alcantara (CM) - 6/10 - Scarcely lost the ball as he knitted the game together.

Divock Origi (ST) - 6/10 - Provided more of a central focal point, allowing Mane to drift wide where he instantly looked more threatening.

Takumi Minamino (ST) - N/A

Norwich player ratings

5. Goalkeeper & defenders

Max Aarons, Luis Diaz
Norwich's Max Aarons (left) tangling with Luis Diaz / Gareth Copley/GettyImages

Angus Gunn (GK) - 5/10 - Caught in No Man's Land for Liverpool's second and justly punished.

Max Aarons (RB) - 7/10 - Did well up against Diaz for much of the game.

Grant Hanley (CB) - 6/10 - Produced a spate of last ditch blocks and clearances in the brief backs-against-the-walls spell Norwich endured before Liverpool's quick-fire double.

Ben Gibson (CB) - 6/10 - Even though Salah inevitably beat the teammate to his left, Gibson often posed more of an obstacle.

Brandon Williams (LB) - 4/10 - Not the first, nor surely the last, fullback to be repeatedly left with twisted blood after coming up against Salah.

6. Midfielders

Billy Gilmour, Luis Diaz
Billy Gilmour (right) was making his 15th league appearance of the season / Gareth Copley/GettyImages

Billy Gilmour (CM) - 5/10 - Let the game pass him by in an anonymous display.

Mathias Normann (CM) - 6/10 - Sweeping behind his midfielders in open play, Norwich where fortunate the returning Norwegian was lurking behind the melee at a corner to clear off the line.

Kenny McLean (CM) - 6/10 - The most likely of Norwich's midfielders to burst beyond Pukki.

7. Forwards

Teemu Pukki scored on his first ever visit to Anfield in 2019 / OLI SCARFF/GettyImages

Josh Sargent (RW) - 7/10 - Played his role in the goal as well as tracking back diligently, providing Aarons with ample support against Diaz.

Teemu Pukki (ST) - 6/10 - Regular threat with his punchy bursts of speed but wasted a good early chance.

Milot Rashica (LW) - 7/10 - Fortunate with his goal but caused Gomez a number of problems when sprinting towards the sporadically used defender.

8. Substitutes

Przemyslaw Placheta (RW) - N/A

Pierre Lees-Melou (CM) - N/A

Jon Rowe (LW) - N/A