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Salah, Mane & Diaz deliver as Liverpool keep title charge on course with Norwich win

1:55 AM MYT 20/02/2022
Luis Diaz Liverpool Norwich Premier League 2021-22
Anfield was rocking after the Reds recovered from going a goal down to beat Norwich, with all three of their starting forwards on target

Liverpool 3-1 Norwich: Match Statistics

Who says the Saturday afternoon kick-off is a thing of the past?

And who says there's such a thing as a 'routine' home win.

Anfield was bouncing here as Liverpool kept up their Premier League title push with victory over Norwich. It finished 3-1, though the scoreline tells only half the story.

Jurgen Klopp’s side certainly had to do things the hard way. They trailed as late as the 64th minute against Dean Smith’s relegation-threatened Canaries, who looked like they might cause the biggest upset of the season after Milot Rashica’s deflected opener.

The Reds had not been themselves to that point, but they came roaring back in spectacular fashion, with all of their big guns delivering.

Sadio Mane equalised with an overhead kick, and within three minutes Liverpool led, Mohamed Salah grabbing his 150th Liverpool goal amid wild scenes on the Kop.

The best was to come, with new £50million ($68m) signing Luis Diaz clipping in his first for the club to put the seal on things. 

Manchester City can’t relax just yet. Liverpool may still be facing an uphill task if they are to overhaul the reigning champions, but they are playing like a team who believes they still have a chance.

This was their eighth win in a row in all competitions, and was dug out despite a performance which for long periods fell well short of the levels expected.

Klopp busted out his traditional fist pumps at the end. He knows how hard his team have grafted this week.

After grinding out three points at Burnley and following that up with a big Champions League win in Milan, this was another vital victory, and one which had to be earned.

Liverpool were stunned when Rashica’s 20-yarder clipped Joel Matip and left Alisson Becker wrong-footed, just three minutes into the second half.

They had dominated the first half without scoring, but suddenly their backs were against the wall. Norwich had something to protect, something to cherish. 

Quality told in the end, though.

Liverpool took a few minutes to gather themselves after Rashica’s strike, but they were soon turning the screw, moving the ball quicker, winning it back higher and working it into dangerous positions more frequently and with more purpose.

Anfield, frustrated to that point, responded accordingly, and it was certainly alive when Jordan Henderson clipped in a ball which Kostas Tsimikas nodded back across goal for Mane, who adjusted superbly to score with an overhead kick from six yards.

It was bouncing soon after as a piece of quick-thinking (and immaculate technique) from Alisson released Salah in behind Brandon Williams.

Salah still had a lot to do, but he teased Angus Gunn, the Norwich goalkeeper, on the edge of the box before rolling in a right-footed shot that deceived two defenders on the line.

It was his 150th goal for Liverpool, and he has reached that number in only 233 games. Only the great Roger Hunt, in Reds history, has got there quicker.

Salah has 25 in all competitions this season, and knowing him, he will be frustrated that he doesn’t have more. He might have had a hat-trick here, for sure.

As it is, he can settle for one, and he was smiling as much as anyone when Diaz opened his Anfield account nine minutes from time.

Henderson was again involved, firing a superb, incisive pass which the Colombian took with his right foot before dinking past Gunn with his left. 

He has made an instant impact since his move from Porto, has Diaz, and his name reverberated around this famous old stadium when he was substituted soon after.

Liverpool fans know a player when they see one, and they see one here.

And so in the end, it all felt routine. Liverpool rack up another three points, Salah reaches another landmark and the world keeps turning. No big deal.

The noise inside Anfield, and the celebrations at the end, tell a different tale.