Barclays Premier League
Carrow Road, Norwich, England
53′ Hoolahan (P)
Liverpool defeated Norwich City by five goals to four in an enthralling game, courtesy of a late winner from super sub Adam Lallana. The Reds had taken the lead through Roberto Firmino but fell behind late in the first half thanks to goals from Dieumerci Mbokani and former Everton striker Steven Naismith. Matters also got worse in the second half when Wes Hoolahan extended the lead from the penalty spot. However the Canaries threw away a two-goal deficit when skipper Jordan Henderson pulled a goal back before Firmino added his second. James Milner sealed the come back after he capitalised on a poor back-pass from Russell Martin. However with four minutes to go, Sébastien Bassong scored a late equaliser, which ultimately counted for nothing as Lallana won it for the Reds with seconds to go.
The home side started brightly and dominated possession in the early few minutes but couldn’t muster a clear-cut opportunity in the first ten minutes.
The closest either side came to scoring came when a long-ball played forward into the path of Roberto Firmino caught out Sébastien Bassong, who thought he had done enough to shepherd the ball into the path of his keeper Declan Rudd, only for Firmino to nip in and fire over under pressure from Bassong.
In the 18th minute, the visitors did take the lead. James Milner played Firmino through on-goal, who managed to slot home with the aid of both Rudd’s foot and the inside of the post.
Three minutes later, a fortunate ricochet for the Reds left Milner through on-goal, but he delayed his strike and Robbie Brady managed to make a last-ditch challenge at the expense of a corner, which came to nothing.
In the 24th minute, the visitors came close when a well-worked freekick fell to Alberto Moreno, who sliced his effort wide of the post. The freekick came after Bassong had grabbed Firmino’s shirt, although the initial contact was made in the box. However Lee Mason was not to know.
Four minutes later, the Canaries were level. After the Reds failed to deal with a corner, a Graham Dorrans header found Dieumerci Mbokani, who did well to control the ball before back-heeling an effort past Simon Mignolet.
In the 35th minute, the home side thought they should have had a penalty when Steven Naismith was barged over by Milner in the penalty area following a corner, however referee Lee Mason was unmoved yet again.
Four minutes later, the Canaries took the lead. Wes Hoolahan found former Everton striker Naismith, who didn’t need to take a touch, and found the bottom corner of the far post from a tight-angle. It was his debut goal.
There were two minutes added on for stoppages, and despite some late pressure from the Reds, it came to no avail.
That was the last action of the first half as Lee Mason blew his whistle to bring the first 45 minutes to an end.
The second half began with the Canaries in the ascendancy, and seven minutes into the restart, Naismith was brought down by Moreno, on two occasions in quick succession, and Lee Mason didn’t hesitate in pointing to the spot. The resulting spot-kick was converted by Hoolahan, whose chipped effort just about evaded Mignolet, who went the right way.
However, the increased deficit lasted 96 seconds. A Nathaniel Clyne cross found skipper Jordan Henderson, who was in acres of space, and the midfielder made no mistake in slotting past Rudd, to reduce the deficit.
In the 58th minute, the Reds made their first change of the game, with Adam Lallana replacing Jordan Ibe.
The substitute made an immediate impact five minutes later. He played a brilliant first-time pass into Firmino, who finished past Rudd to draw the Reds level.
In the 69th minute, the home side made a double substitution, bringing on Martin Olsson for goalscorer Hoolahan and Nathan Redmond departing for Matt Jarvis.
Five minutes later, the visitors took the lead. A poor back-pass from Russell Martin, was seized upon by Milner, who composed himself before slotting past Rudd.
Soon after, skipper and goalscorer Henderson departed for Christian Benteke.
In the 81st minute, the home side made their third and final change of the game, debut goalscorer Naismith made way for Cameron Jerome.
In the 84th minute, Firmino looked to complete his hat-trick, the Brazilian cut-inside before firing an effort that Rudd did well to gather.
Five minutes later, the visitors made their third and final change of the game with Steven Caulker coming on for Moreno.
There were five additional minutes for stoppages and in the second of those, Bassong stepped-up to all but level the scores. A long-ball played forward found substitute Jerome, who laid the ball off to Bassong, who drilled the ball past Mignolet to equalise and silence the visiting supporters.
However, there was more late drama, a late Liverpool surge saw a series of shots charged down, before eventually falling to substitute Lallana, whose miscued effort wrong-footed Rudd and found the top-corner, giving the Reds the winner.
That was the last action of the match as Lee Mason blew his whistle to bring the game to an end.
The defeat for the Canaries meant that they remained in 16th on 23 points, before the rest of the weekend’s games. The victory for the Reds meant that they moved into seventh on 34 points, before the rest of the weekend’s games.