Liverpool have solidified their lead at the top of the Premier League and now sit five points ahead of Chelsea after a 3-2 win over Norwich City. The Canaries are now in serious trouble, as they have the hardest remaining schedule of all the teams battling to avoid relegation.
The game got off to a predictably awful start for Norwich, who haven't been able to deal with Liverpool as of late even when they were in decent form. Raheem Sterling -- the clear man of the match -- put his side ahead after just four minutes with a gorgeous long-range strike. It took a deflection off the backside of a Norwich defender to give it a perfect swerve, but it looked like his shot might have been destined for the net without any help.
Seven minutes later, Liverpool struck again. This time it was through their leading scorer and Norwich's top nemesis, Luis Suarez. Sterling provided the setup for Suarez, who placed a gorgeous low finish past John Ruddy from 10 yards to score his ninth goal against Norwich in his last four Premier League games against them, and his sixth in 12 matches overall. The goal was also his 30th of the season in the league, making him the first Liverpool player to achieve that feat in the Premier League.
The rest of the first half was rather uneventful, though very much in Liverpool's control. Norwich couldn't muster more than a couple of half-chances and looked well on their way to another defeat against the Reds.
But unexpectedly, Norwich found a lifeline in the 54th minute when Gary Hooper bundled in a surprise goal. However, the Canaries' celebration was short-lived; Sterling scored his second goal of the game just eight minutes later. The run that set up his goal was absolutely magical, but the finish was lucky. After surging forward 40 yards with the ball, Sterling hit a shot right into Bradley Johnson, but the Norwich defender couldn't block it. Instead, the deflection off his body helped the ball bounce past Ruddy.
That appeared to be the end of Norwich, but they stunned everyone by hitting back one more time. Robert Snodgrass headed in a cross by Martin Olsson in the 77th minute, bringing his team back within one goal once again. But they couldn't find a third, and Liverpool managed to hang on for all three points.
Norwich City: Ruddy, Olsson, Turner, Martin, Whittaker, Johnson, Howson, Redmond, Fer (Murphy 78'), Snodgrass, Hooper (van Wolfswinkel 78')
Goals: Hooper (54'), Snodgrass (77')
Liverpool: Mignolet, Flanagan, Sahko, Skrtel, Johnson, Gerrard, Lucas, Allen (Agger 81'), Sterling, Suarez, Coutinho (Moses 76')
Goals: Sterling (4', 62'), Suarez (11')