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Naismith strikes on debut but Liverpool edge Norwich in nine-goal thriller

Sam Barnard, Assistant Sports Editor | January 23, 2016

Norwich City 4-5 Liverpool

  • Firmino opened scoring in 18th minute after shot crept in
  • Mbokani soon equalised with clever back-heel
  • Naismith scored on debut from tight angle
  • Scot was fouled in box for Hoolahan to convert
  • Firmino added his second of the game to equalise
  • Henderson and Milner grabbed late goals as Reds went back ahead
  • Bassong hit injury-time equaliser with screamer
  • Lallana finally ensured all three points a minute later

Canaries and Reds battle out thriller

Prior to this season, each of the last five meetings between Norwich City and Liverpool in the Premier League produced a minimum of five goals, and this clash provided more than any of them with nine.

Alex Neil handed debuts to Steven Naismith and Ivo Pinto, and changes to the starting line-up didn’t do too much harm at first as the Canaries led the Reds 3-1 at one point, thanks to the efforts of the Scotland attacker.

However, errors at the back from the hosts allowed Liverpool to score three second-half goals in succession to go 4-3 up, before eventually coming through to triumph 5-4 after late drama.

Liverpool started brightest

Following his recent move from Everton, Naismith made an immediate impact early on as he let Lucas Leiva know he was there, but thankfully the Brazilian was able to continue.

While Norwich were delighted they wouldn’t have to face former Red Luis Suarez, who fired in 12 goals in five appearances against them, though they went behind to another South American as Roberto Firmino’s effort somehow crept in off the post.

James Milner created the goal with a well-weighted pass, and keeper Declan Rudd was unable to stop the Brazilian from scoring despite getting his legs to the shot.

Canaries soar to build lead

Norwich were soon level just before the half-hour mark, though, as DR Congo striker Dieumerci Mbokani cleverly back-heeled past Simon Mignolet for his fourth Premier League goal of the season since his move from Dynamo Kiev on loan.

The home fans then had more to cheer about in the 41st minute, as new signing Naismith, who only earlier this season hit a hat-trick against Chelsea for Everton, did well to smash home from a tight angle to put the Canaries ahead.

Naismith continued his impressive impact on debut in the second-half, as he was brought down by Alberto Moreno in the box after a senseless challenge. Wes Hoolahan coolly converted from the spot to put the hosts 3-1 up.

Norwich City v Liverpool - Barclays Premier League - Carrow Road

Liverpool in fantastic fightback

In what was an exhilarating match to watch, Liverpool got a goal back just minutes later as skipper Jordan Henderson dispatched from close range after being unmarked.

Jurgen Klopp’s men then found the equaliser in the 63rd minute, and once more Norwich defenders were nowhere to be seen when substitute Adam Lallana picked out Firmino in the box.

Norwich City v Liverpool - Barclays Premier League - Carrow Road

A mix-up at the back again allowed Milner to capitalise and run through on goal with 25 minutes to go, to help the visitors complete the comeback.

What was to happen next, no one could script… Sebastien Bassong thought he’d clawed a point back in injury-time after smashing in a screamer from outside the area, but just a minute later, Lallana looped an effort into the net at the other end after a scramble in the box.

Liverpool’s win ensured they jumped two places into seventh ahead of the rest of the weekend’s fixtures, while Norwich stay two points above the drop zone after 23 games.

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