Liverpool and Norwich played out a 1-1 draw at Anfield on Sunday, and there is no doubt that Alex Neill will be happier than Brendan Rodgers with the result.
Liverpool struck through substitute Danny Ings, but were soon pegged back by a Russell Martin equalizer, and Liverpool were forced to settle for a draw.
The value of having a reliable goalkeeper
Anyone who watched Spurs vs Crystal Palace earlier in the day will have seen Hugo Lloris’ excellent save which denied Bakary Sako in the second half, with the score at 0-0.
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Just three minutes later, Alex McCarthy failed to keep out Heung-Min Son’s tame effort, which ultimately decided the match. The value of a top class goalkeeper cannot be underestimated (just look at David De Gea).
Liverpool vs Norwich also underlined the importance of having a reliable goalkeeper. Despite playing well in patches, Simon Mignolet has never fully convinced at Liverpool. Liverpool were in the ascendancy in the second half, and were visibly growing in confidence after Danny Ings’ strike.
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However, Norwich were gifted an equaliser after Mignolet failed to make a routine clearance. The Belgian failed to get any distance on his punch, and gifted Martin the opportunity to apply a smart finish. The importance of a strong ‘keeper was further emphasised when John Ruddy made a brilliant save to deny Philippe Coutinho in the closing stages.
Liverpool fans will have been delighted to witness Daniel Sturridge make it through an hour unscathed. Despite being understandably rusty, Sturridge looked a threat whilst on the pitch, and gave Liverpool a different dynamic. It was unfortunate that his partnership with Christian Benteke lasted just 45 minutes, but the two could well form a potent partnership.
Danny Ings also impressed in the second half, after coming on for the injured Benteke. It took Ings less than three minutes to get on the score-sheet, applying a clinical finish to the impressive Alberto Moreno’s through ball.
Liverpool created more chances than in previous games, and Rodgers’ side looked more comfortable with three at the back, as Emre Can made the transition from midfield to defence seamlessly, and Mamadou Sakho impressed alongside Can on his return to the side.
Liverpool must beat Carlisle and Villa
One thing is certain after Sunday’s draw - Liverpool cannot afford to slip up against either Carlisle or Aston Villa at Anfield this week. These are massive games for Liverpool, and for Brendan Rodgers. The Reds are without a win in four games, and pressure is mounting on Rodgers.
Liverpool currently sits 13th in the table, and are on the brink of a daunting run of fixtures. Everton, Spurs, Man City and Chelsea all await in their next four away games. With no disrespect to either Carlisle or Villa, these are two winnable games for Liverpool, which could boost morale and confidence going into the tough run of fixtures to come.
The next few weeks will be telling in terms of Liverpool’s season, and may also influence the future of Brendan Rodgers.
Do you think Brendan Rodgers will be sacked if he fails to win his next two games? Give YOUR opinion in the comment box below