How Lallana responded to Teixeira bid: 5 things from Norwich 4-5 Liverpool
Lallana's smashing response
Liverpool's £24.5m bid for Alex Teixeira was probably not good news for Adam Lallana, so perhaps his response was inevitable: he smashed his manager's glasses.
That might not exactly sound like the ideal reaction, but in truth it was exactly what Jurgen Klopp would have wanted. Klopp's glasses were the collateral damage in the crazed celebrations of Lallana's 95th-minute winner, a fitting end to one of the most demented games the Premier League has ever witnessed.
The former Southampton wide man looks one of those most under threat should Liverpool succeed in their quest to lure Teixeira from Shakhtar Donetsk before the January window comes to a close. Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho will play when fit, and you would expect the same to be true of Daniel Sturridge. If Teixeira arrives as well, the opportunities for Lallana are likely to recede significantly.
Lallana has started the key games in recent weeks and only a slight injury saw him drop to the bench at Carrow Road. It was his introduction, however, that played a major part in Liverpool's dramatic recovery. The Reds were 3-2 down when Lallana was brought on for Jordon Ibe. Within four minutes he had provided the clever pass for Firmino to level. In stoppage time, he was the right man in the right place to fire home the winner - his first Premier League goal of the season.
Lallana provided an attacking thrust out wide that Ibe had not provided in the opening 58 minutes. It was a highly impressive cameo, and a timely reminder of his abilities. As it turns out, he's not the first player with Liverpool connections to break Klopp's glasses.
"It happened to me before, the glasses are in the Borussia Dortmund museum," Klopp revealed afterwards. "We won against Bayern Munich and Nuri Sahin broke my glasses. Today it was Adam."
Asked what he thought about the amazing scenes at the end of the game, Klopp quipped: "I don't know, I saw nothing! Usually I have a second pair of glasses but I can't find them. It's really difficult looking for glasses without glasses."
Liverpool were clinical - for once
The Reds went into this game having converted only 10.3% of their chances in the Premier League so far this season. True, Aston Villa (10.2%) had a worse ratio, but given that Aston Villa are bottom of the table by some distance, that's not exactly much comfort.
Everything was different for Liverpool at Carrow Road, though. Yes, this game featured some of the most shambolic defending you're ever likely to see in the Premer League, but it also featured some of the most clinical finishing.
In total 19 shots produced 12 efforts on target, and nine goals. Pretty impressive. Liverpool contributed 13 of those shots, seven of which were on target and five of which ended up in the net. That's almost a 38.5% success rate, a huge improvement.
Reds upped the tempo
For much of this game, it was Norwich who looked like they wanted the points more. It was they who were tigerishly pressing the ball, rushing a lethargic Liverpool and forcing them into mistakes.
But things changed when the Reds went 3-1 down. It was a wake-up call. Suddenly Liverpool had more urgency and purpose in their play, and their tempo improved significantly. Their own pressing improved and forced Russell Martin into the ill-advised backpass that produced James Milner's goal.
"We started playing football again, that was impressive to be honest," Klopp said. "We played really well."
At the point Wes Hoolahan put Norwich 3-1 up, they had made 58 passes in the attacking third to Liverpool's 44. From that point onwards, Liverpool made 47 passes in the final third, compared to Norwich's 25.
They made 30 ball recoveries in the first 54 minutes, then 29 in the final 36 minutes - a significantly higher ratio. They also won 8 of 13 aerial duels in that final period, compared to 1 of 8 earlier on.
Liverpool defence still hasn't turned corner
It was at Norwich two seasons ago that Liverpool moved five points clear at the top of the Premier League table, with only three games to play. The title looked to be theirs.
Had they won the Premier League that season though, it would have been in spite of their defence, not because of it. They conceded 50 goals that season, making them only the eighth-best defence in the division. Last season they were again the eighth-best defence, conceding 48 goals. This season they are the joint 13th-best defence, shipping 32 goals in 23 games.
Liverpool went into this game having conceded seven goals from corners in the Premier League this season, more than any other club. They conceded another one in this game, albeit indirectly.
The Reds employed a mixture of zonal and man-to-man marking from corners. Kolo Toure was assigned to mark Dieumerci Mbokani, with Emre Can, Nathaniel Clyne and others also man marking. Mamadou Sakho was the free man, told to stand on the edge of the six-yard box and head clear anything that came his way.
Unfortunately the system fell down when a sleeping Can lost Russell Martin, whose header back across goal led to chaos and ultimately Norwich's first goal. Liverpool half cleared but the ball was returned into the danger area from the edge of the box. By then Toure had lost Mbokani and Sakho was pinned behind the striker, allowing him to bring the ball down and smartly backheel home.
Can again switched off for the second goal, allowing Steven Naismith to run free and fire home, before set piece problems beset them again late on. By then Liverpool had introduced Steven Caulker to shield the defence but even three natural centre backs couldn't clear a deep free kick as substitute Cameron Jerome drifted in between Toure and Sakho to knock the ball down for the unmarked Sebastian Bassong to brilliantly lash home.
Klopp actually felt his side defended better from set pieces, but thought his players should have pushed out quicker for Mbokani's goal.
"It's unbelievable, we had goals from set plays today but we actually defended them better," he said. "They got goals from second balls. We had a better formation, better organisation and we defended the first ball. But because of our history, the players all stayed in the box. For the first goal, you have to be offside if you stay there, it's not possible.
"We made different mistakes this time. That's how life is, you solve one problem, you've got another one. If you win 5-4 it's a funny story, but of course it's not that funny. We have to solve it. I'm not happy with the situation for sure."
Even Sturridge might struggle to move Firmino now
Roberto Firmino had a slow start to life in the Premier League after his summer move to Anfield but he has really started to prove himself in the last few weeks, to the point where now Klopp seems more than happy to rely on the Brazilian as his main striker.
For so long Liverpool fans have waited for Daniel Sturridge to return to fitness and take up the central striking role, but now Klopp could face a dilemma when the England international returns. There's no reason why the two players can't play together, but might Klopp be tempted to keep Firmino in the lead role, rather than asking him to play behind Sturridge?
Firmino had four shots in this game. Three were on target and two produced goals, both calm finishes that suggest the former Hoffenheim man now feels totally at home in England. He also provided the flick for Jordan Henderson's strike and is quickly developing into Liverpool's key player.
- Roberto Firmino has scored 4 goals in 3 games after just 1 goal in his previous 24 in all competitions.
- The first 6 shots on target in this game were all scored.
- Firmino is the first Liverpool player to be involved in 3 goals in a single Premier League game this season (2 goals, 1 assist) and the first Liverpool player to be involved in 3 goals in one game since Raheem Sterling against Norwich in April 2014.
- The Reds have conceded a league-high 8 goals from corners this season.
- Steven Naismith has now scored his first Premier League goal for both Everton & Norwich against Liverpool.
- Liverpool have conceded from their first shot on target faced in all four of their Premier League games in 2016.
- Wes Hoolahan scored Norwich’s first penalty in the Premier League this season – it was also their first in the competition since November 2013.
- The Canaries have conceded a league-high 21 Premier League goals in the last half-hour of games this season, 6 more than any other team.
- There have been four 5-4 results in Premier League history and Norwich have lost two of them (also v Southampton in April 94).
- This is only the third time in Premier League history that Liverpool have recovered from two goals behind to win an away game – also against Man City in October 2008 and Fulham in October 2004.