Relentless Liverpool Move 25 Points Clear At The Summit.
Liverpool claimed a 17th consecutive Premier League win and moved 25 points clear at the summit of the table with a 1-0 win away at Norwich City.
Substitute Sadio Mane’s 78th minute sealed the win in what was a poor game, marred by the blustery winds brought on by Storm Dennis.
The Reds began the game with an attacking intent, but the swirling winds of Storm Dennis made enterprising passing moves difficult.
Oxlade Chamberlain tamely tested Tim Krul, as did Naby Keita, but the shots were speculative and weren’t the end result I’d Norwich being prized open.
The hosts, who had the wind behind their backs, showed a level of performance that belied their lowly position in the table and they had the best opportunity of the first half.
A long ball over the top of the Reds’ high line perfectly found the incisive run of Lukas Rupp. The German looked marginally offside but the linesman’s flag remained down and, when presented the opportunity to shoot, the former Hoffenheim player elected to square a pass to Teemu Pukki. Ever vigilant, though, Alisson read the move and intercepted the pass that would’ve seen the Fin score into an empty net and Liverpool escaped a goal that may well have been chalked off.
The European champions continued to probe — with Roberto Firmino displaying his full skillet with some sumptuous flicks — but the final pass, no doubt influenced by the wind, was lacking and the teams went into the interval at 0-0.
The second period began in much the same manner; Liverpool dominant but their possession sterile and non threatening.
Working their way into the game near the hour mark, the Reds forced Krul into strong saves. First the Dutchman denied Keita’s long range rasping drive. Moments later, he saved a right footed Mohamed Salah shot and, from the rebound, denied Keita once more from close range.
In a move to force the issue, Jurgen Klopp elected for a double change; introducing Fabinho and Mané for Georginio Wijnaldum and Oxlade Chamberlain.
Upping the ante, Liverpool won a spate of corners and ought to have had a penalty when Grant Hanley wrestled Virgil van Dijk to the ground.
To the credit, in their rare spells of possession, Norwich knitted passes together well and an Alexander Tettey strike from distance— although whether the Norwegian meant to shoot was debatable — hit the outside of the post.
The double substitution made by Klopp earlier in the half gave the Reds an extra impetus and it paid dividends with 12 minutes remaining. Jordan Henderson’s flighted and beautifully weighted ball over the top found Mané and the Senegalese smashed a left footed shot past Krul into the bottom left corner to give the table toppers a deserved lead.
The visitors almost doubled their lead when Alexander Arnold’s venomous cross was diverted wide by Firmino.
The Canaries, fighting to the end, manufactured a half chance that saw Pukki shoot at Alisson. Typically, the Brazilian held it comfortably and the Reds held out for another win in what has been a record breaking campaign.