The appointment of Brendan Rodgers marked the start of a revolution at Liverpool, a new beginning, and so far this season they have struggled in the league but done well in the cups… hmm.
Currently third from bottom in the Premier League, the Merseyside club need to pick up some wins pretty sharpish if they are to stand any chance of competing for the coveted Champions League places.
Norwich also hired a new manager who has had a rocky start, but like the Anfield club, Chris Hughton’s side have been picking up cup wins, including a 1-0 triumph over Doncaster in midweek in the Capital One Cup third round.
When the Canaries and the Reds clash at Carrow Road on Saturday, both will be looking for their first wins in the league. That raises an interesting question – will it cause them both to be ambitious or cautious?
Last season’s meeting between the two was a thoroughly one-sided affair, with Luis Suarez scoring an impressive treble in a 3-0 away win. Not technically a ‘perfect’ hat-trick, but when you go ‘left foot, right foot and from the halfway line’, the odd standing ovation here or there can be expected.
The Uruguayan has bagged two in Liverpool’s five games so far and will be licking his lips at the prospect of coming up against a Norwich defence that was very generous to him last year. Suarez can be found at 6/5 to score at any time, or 22/1 to score three or more again.
Goals have been a problem for both teams, with Rodgers’ men scoring just four in their five games, while the East Anglian side have registered only two.
However, with neither defence covering themselves in glory (Norwich have conceded eight while Liverpool have shipped ten), there is every chance that this game can produce goals.
The question for Rodgers is does he go with his senior team, or give the youngsters a chance after they defeated a West Brom side in midweek that had beaten the Reds’ first team on the opening day?
With Lucas Leiva and Martin Kelly injured, and with Jonjo Shelvey suspended, there could be further opportunities for the likes of Andre Wisdom, Suso and former Norwich loanee Dani Pacheco.
Hughton was also able to rest a few first-teamers against Doncaster and will hope that their narrow win will help his side move on from early-season disappointments such as the 5-0 opening-day loss at Fulham and last weekend’s defeat at Newcastle.
Liverpool certainly have a habit of shooting themselves in the foot and should Norwich succeed in stifling the Reds’ midfield, they will fancy themselves to get the win at 15/4 and add to the misery on one half of Merseyside.
Given that both have failed to win this season, there would be understandable logic in predicting a draw, which can be backed at 5/2.
The Canaries did draw six of their home games on their return to the top flight last term under Paul Lambert, while Hughton’s Birmingham team drew nine at St Andrews in the Championship during the 2011/12 campaign.
However, in their 19 away games last season, the Reds only drew once, and Rodgers’ Swansea side did so just four times.
In the eight previous Premier League meetings between the two, Liverpool have won five, there have been two draws and just one solitary win for Norwich, though it was at Anfield in the last game ever in front of the old standing Kop.
With Liverpool able to call on the likes of Nuri Sahin, Oussama Assaidi and Sebastian Coates as injury and suspension replacements, and the confidence that Wednesday’s win at the Hawthorns will have given them, I can see them finally turning their possession into points on Saturday at a price of 3/4, while I’m afraid the search for a first win is likely to go on for Norwich.
Place the free £20 bet you receive for registering with bwin today on Liverpool and you could win back £35, which you can then use to buy Fifa 13.
Once you’ve done that, feel free to play Norwich v Liverpool out and see what the score is – just don’t try to claim on any bets you’ve made with bwin if you manage to score a hat-trick with Suarez…
Recommended bet: Liverpool to beat Norwich @ 3/4
Outside punt: Luis Suarez to score at any time @ 6/5
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