- Liverpool 5-1 Norwich City, Premier League
Sensational Suarez hat-trick blows Canaries away
Luis Suarez scored a 35-minute hat-trick, his third against Norwich and his fifth in total in the Premier League, as Liverpool ran riot at Anfield.
Suarez continued his unbelievable record against Norwich, and in remarkable style too, opening the scoring on 15 minutes from fully 40 yards with a dipping, swerving volley that left John Ruddy grasping at thin air. It was his eighth goal against the Canaries in his last four outings, and he made it nine just 14 minutes later with a much shorter effort, diverting Philippe Coutinho's corner into the roof of the net from six yards out.
There was to be no let up for the visitors, though, as Suarez completed his hat-trick on 35 minutes, dinking the ball over one defender before lashing a half-volley into the far corner of the net from 18 yards. It means he surpasses Carlos Tevez for the most Premier League hat-tricks by a South American player.
The Uruguayan was not finished, however, and grabbed his fourth goal of the night with 16 minutes remaining with an outstanding free-kick, becoming the first South American to score four goals in one Premier League match. He is also the first Liverpool player to score a hat-trick of hat-tricks against one club, and the third to score a first-half hat-trick, after Michael Owen and Robbie Fowler.
Norwich, who were did not perform poorly despite Suarez's incredible performance, pulled a goal back through Bradley Johnson seven minutes from time. However, Raheem Sterling was the man to round out the scoring on the night on 88 minutes.
After 15 minutes of frustration born out of misplaced passes, normal service was resumed at Anfield, where Liverpool have now scored 13 in their last three appearances.
John Ruddy's kick was headed forward by Joe Allen and when Leroy Fer missed his clearance that was the cue for Suarez to seize his chance, half-turning towards the Kop to lash a dipping inch-perfect shot over and across the Norwich goalkeeper from 40 yards. It was reminiscent of the goal he scored at Carrow Road in April 2012 when he netted the first of his three hat-tricks against Norwich.
His second goal, just before the half hour, was a more instinctive finish but no less clinical. Coutinho swung over a left-wing corner won after centre-back Martin Skrtel's wonderful 60-yard crossfield pass and although Steven Gerrard tried to flick it on he succeeded only in ducking underneath. But that gave Suarez the opening he needed and quick as a flash he hooked home left-footed.
The best came six minutes later when the helpless Fer could only look on as Suarez flicked the ball over his head a la Paul Gascoigne versus Scotland at Euro 96 before skipping past the midfielder to lash past Ruddy.
Norwich resorted to fouls with Bradley Johnson booked for a trip just as the striker looked set to break through the heart of the defence but the damage had already been done.
Strangely Norwich, buoyed by their weekend win over Crystal Palace, had created the first two scoring chances with Jonny Howson firing over and Wes Hoolahan's low strike saved by Simon Mignolet.
Suarez ended any fanciful hopes they had of recording a first Anfield victory since April 1994, which was memorable for being the last day of the all-standing Kop more than anything else.
Conjecture at the interval was whether Suarez could maintain his form and score a hat-trick in each half. He showed he is merely magical and not miraculous with just one more goal in the 74th minute, although that too was a thing of beauty in its own right.
Gerrard was brought down by Howson 25 yards out and after Coutinho had failed with their previous effort from a similar position Suarez stepped up to curl a shot up and over the wall and into the net.
Johnson headed home Nathan Redmond's left-wing cross with seven minutes to go but it barely even registered with the travelling support never mind the rest of Anfield and Sterling ensured the night finished on a high by converting Suarez's cross.
This was the sort of performance Liverpool needed to put on on Sunday at Hull, the start of three matches in a week which they were expected to win. Defeat there was a missed opportunity to consolidate second place and they dropped to fourth - which is where they remain as their Champions League-chasing rivals also won.
It is a reminder to the Reds just how small the margins are in the battle to regain their place among Europe's elite. West Ham are next up at Anfield on Saturday. Suarez will already have them in his sights.
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