• Norwich City 2-3 Liverpool, Premier League

Liverpool inch towards title after another thriller

ESPN staff
April 20, 2014
Raheem Sterling lets fly with a terrific shot to open the scoring for Liverpool against Norwich © Getty Images

Liverpool guaranteed themselves a place in the Champions League next season with a 3-2 victory over Norwich City at Carrow Road - but their fans are dreaming of grander things now with a first ever Premier League title just seven points from their grasp.

It was a much more nerve-racking finish to the game than the travelling support could have imagined though when their team were 2-0 up within 11 minutes yet somehow found themselves clinging on at the death.

Raheem Sterling blasted Liverpool into the lead after only four minutes with a superb strike from the edge of the box that left John Ruddy grasping at thin air in the Norwich goal. Seven minutes later, he turned provider with a superb low cross that Luis Suarez tucked into the bottom corner.

That was Suarez's 12th goal in four matches against Norwich and his 30th of the Premier League season - making him the seventh player to reach that mark since the league's inception in 1992 and the first Liverpool player to do so in the top-flight since Ian Rush in 1986-87.

Norwich steadily worked their way back into the match and were full value for the goal they clawed back on 55 minutes, though it owed much to a goalkeeping blunder by Simon Mignolet. The Liverpool No.1 came for a hanging cross but succeeded only in punching it into the head of his own defender Martin Skrtel, leaving Gary Hooper with the simple task of tapping in to an empty net from six yards.

However, as Norwich pushed forward for the equaliser, they were always liable to leave gaps at the back and Sterling took advantage with a long run from midfield that ended with a deflected shot that looped over Ruddy, under the bar and into the net to make it 3-1.

Norwich refused to go quietly, though, and Robert Snodgrass headed in their second goal to set up a tense last 13 minutes. Ricky van Wolfswinkel had a great chance to equalise on 83 minutes, but his header was too close to Mignolet.

The result means that Liverpool can eliminate Chelsea from the title race with victory against Jose Mourinho's side at Anfield next weekend. It also means Liverpool require seven points from their remaining three matches to be assured of the title regardless of how Chelsea and Manchester City perform.

Norwich, however, have other concerns. They are just two points above the relegation zone and could fall into the bottom three if Sunderland - currently bottom of the table - win their game in hand. Norwich also have arguably the hardest run-in of those teams trying to escape the drop: away to Manchester United and Chelsea, then home to Arsenal on the final day of the season.

Luis Suarez celebrates becoming the first Liverpool player to score 30 league goals in the Premier League era © PA Photos
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