Norwich host Liverpool in the English Premier League at Carrow Road on Saturday evening. Daniel Farke’s team romped to the EFL title last season with 29 wins in 46 matches. Liverpool finished third after a very inconsistent season riddled with injuries, especially in defence. Jurgen Klopp will hope to get one over his countryman and lay down a marker for the season ahead.
Norwich won the Championship last season thanks to the second best attack (behind Brentford) and the second best defensive record (behind Watford). The Canaries secured promotion with five matches to spare and then took their foot off the peddle having been on a run of 11 wins and two draws in 13 prior to that.
A 3-1 home defeat to Bournemouth and 1-0 home loss to Watford followed before consecutive wins and a 2-2 draw on the final day against Barnsley. Norwich won four matches against lower league opposition in preseason before being thrashed 3-0 at Newcastle in their final friendly. Norwich lost all of their final 10 matches the last time they were in the top flight.
Norwich Team News
Norwich had a recent COVID-19 breakout which means five players are doubtful including Grant Hanley and Onel Hernandez. Fullback Sam Byram is out and Todd Cantwell is expected to be missing with an ankle injury in midfield. Farke has lost his chief creative weapon in Emi Buendía to Aston Villa and arguably hasn’t adequately replaced him.
On loan playmaker, Billy Gilmour should make his debut in midfield in place of Oliver Skipp, who returned to Spurs after his fine loan spell last season. Winger Milot Rashica has arrived from Werder Bremen and could start.
The Canaries play a wide open style and look to dominate possession. They will try to take the game to Liverpool especially with their loud fans behind them. However, this is going to give space to Liverpool to exploit on transitions.
Norwich are not expected to shut up shop at any point in the match which means it won’t be easy to protect a lead nor to stop the bleeding if they are a couple of goals behind.
Klopp got Liverpool into the top three after a great end to the season after one disastrous run of eight defeats in 12 matches before that. The Reds won eight and drew two of their final 10 league matches with some big results including 3-0 against Arsenal and 4-2 at Man Utd. Liverpool won their final three away matches and looked much better away from Anfield for most of the campaign.
Preseason has been solid for The Reds as returning players have been eased back in, as well as the club’s international players after summer tournament involvement. A 3-1 win against Osasuna completed the preparations as Roberto Firmino netted twice.
Liverpool Team News
The big news is that all of Virgil Van Dijk, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez are fit again in defence and Ibrahima Konaté has arrived for big money to further boost that department. Jurgen Klopp has a tough choice of who to start but the latter looks likely to be selected with Van Dijk perhaps more likely to be on the bench and eased back in (therefore Gomez or Matip to partner Konate).
Jordan Henderson and Thiago Alcantara are slightly behind on their fitness so James Milner could play in midfield alongside Fabinho and Curtis Jones. Diego Jota could keep Roberto Firmino on the bench after the latter’s late return after Copa America.
Liverpool will be desperate to start with a win and to begin this season as they mean to go on. Klopp’s team will attack and should have much more security at the back with their returning players. If leading by one goal, they could continue to attack and try to score a lot more goals.
Norwich have lost 5 of their last 9 matches against Liverpool by 3 or more goals
Norwich have lost 8 of their last 9 matches against Liverpool (D1)
Liverpool have won 10 of their last 13 matches away from Anfield
Liverpool have kept 6 clean sheets in their last 10 matches on the road
Liverpool should win this match by a large margin. Norwich are one of their favourite opponents and the return to fitness of some key players should bring a return of their previous confidence and aura. Going for a big Reds win looks the best value bet.