Mohamed Salah scored his 150th goal for Liverpool as the much-changed Reds came from behind to see off a resilient Norwich and close the gap on Premier League leaders Manchester City to six points.
Jurgen Klopp made seven changes in total from the side that won at Inter Milan in the Champions League on Wednesday night. That looked like backfiring when Milot Rashica’s deflected shot gave Norwich a surprise lead three minutes after the restart.
But two goals in three minutes turned the game on its head, Sadio Mane equalising with an outrageous acrobatic volley before Salah completed the comeback following a fine 70-yard pass from goalkeeper Alisson. January signing Luis Diaz rounded things off with his first goal in Liverpool colours.
The game started at a frantic place with both sides throwing players forward in search of the opening goal and Rashica had the ball in the back of the net for Norwich after just three minutes only to be flagged offside. Kostas Tsimikas should have been celebrating his first goal in Liverpool colours, but failed to hit the target with a half-volley while unmarked.
At the other end, Teemu Pukki suffered similar misfortune as he dragged his shot wide with just goalkeeper Alisson to beat. Salah had a header cleared off the line while Virgil van Dijk was left frustrated after seeing his goal chalked off for offside, as an entertaining first half ended goalless.
Norwich drew blood first, but they needed a huge slice of fortune as Rashica’s shot took a wicked deflection off Joel Matip, wrong-footing Alisson as it broke the deadlock in front of the Kop.
But it felt inevitable Liverpool would equalise given the number of chances they were creating, and it was worth the wait as Mane connected with an acrobatic volley from Tsimikas’ headed cross in the 64th minute before Salah coolly hit his landmark goal.
Jordan Henderson then picked out the run of Diaz, who killed off Norwich’s resistance with a lovely dinked finish with less than 10 minutes remaining.
The victory means Liverpool have 57 points after 25 games, six behind Manchester City ahead of their match against Tottenham on Saturday evening. Norwich drop to the bottom of the league after both Watford and Burnley recorded wins.
Next up for the Reds is a home match with Leeds on Wednesday night, while the Canaries travel to in-form Southampton next Friday.
TALKING POINT – LIVERPOOL KEEP PRESSURE ON CITY
It felt like a risk to make so many changes, even against one of Premier League’s perennial strugglers. And, having fallen behind, this was a real test of character for Liverpool. They had to dig deep but once they scored an equaliser there was only ever going to be one winner, as Salah grabbed his landmark goal and Diaz got off the mark.
It’s now eight wins on the spin for the Reds. In their last 48 games, only two opponents have managed to get the better of Liverpool.
Klopp’s side simply need to keep winning and hope that Manchester City slip up along the way.
MAN OF THE MATCH – MOHAMED SALAH (LIVERPOOL)
Who else? Again Salah was Liverpool’s outstanding player and on another day he would have had a hat-trick. Jordan Henderson ran him close with a superb all-action display in midfield.
Liverpool: Alisson 7, Gomez 6, Van Dijk 7, Matip 6, Tsimikas 7, Henderson 8, Oxlade-Chamberlain 5, Keita 6, Mane 7, Diaz 7, Salah 8*… subs: Thiago 7, Minamino N/A, Origi 5.
Norwich: Gunn 7, Aaron 6, Gibson 6, Hanley 7, Williams 6, Gilmour 6, Normann 5, McLean 6, Rashica 7, Pukki 5, Sargent 7… subs: Placheta 5, Lees-Melou N/A, Rowe N/A.
5′ – HOW DOES HE MISS?! Tsimikas runs to the back post to meet Salah’s cross and completely unmarked the Liverpool full-back can’t find the net with his half-volley. Golden opportunity for his
first Liverpool goal!
15′ – BIG CHANCE FOR PUKKI! A beautiful ball is played into the path of Pukki and, with the Liverpool defence caught napping, this is a wonderful chance for Norwich to take the lead… but he fails to hit the target! Will the Finland international get a better opportunity this afternoon?
20′ – OFF THE LINE! Gunn is caught in no man’s land as the corner is swung in. Salah’s header is goal-bound but Normann is in position to hack it off the line.
48′ – GOAL! LIVERPOOL 0-1 NORWICH (MILOT RASHICA): A huge slice of fortune for Norwich! Sargent keeps running and running before he tees it back to Rashica. It looks like the danger is gone, but he creates half a yard to get his shot away and the ball takes a wicked deflection off Matip and ends up in the back of the net!
64′ – GOAL! LIVERPOOL 1-1 NORWICH (SADIO MANE): That’s the goal Anfield was craving! And it’s wonderful from Mane! Tsimikas’ headed cross is behind Mane but he does brilliantly to connect with an acrobatic volley, scoring his first goal in front of his supporters in three months.
67′ – GOAL! LIVERPOOL 2-1 NORWICH (MO SALAH): Two goals in three minutes and Liverpool are now ahead! Salah grabs his 150th goal for the Reds! Alisson’s outrageous kick picks out Salah, he performs a lovely turn to send the goalkeeper for a coffee and then keeps his cool to slide it into an empty net.
80′ – GOAL! LIVERPOOL 3-1 NORWICH (LUIS DIAZ) Game over as Diaz scores his first goal for Liverpool! His run is picked out by an excellent pass from Henderson and Diaz finishes the job with a delicate dink over the onrushing Gunn.