Masterclass from Suarez ends the wait

Norwich City 2 Liverpool 5

When it finally arrived, at the sixth time of asking, it came powerfully, thrillingly and without ambiguity. It was first league win of the Brendan Rodgers era at Liverpool. It felt as if the drought was over and the dam had burst, such was the relaxed fluency of their football and the sense of relief at the end that Norwich City had been swamped.

This was a comprehensive and deserved win, and a demonstration of what Rodgers' Liverpool are meant to look like. The attacking football was fluid and confident, driven through the middle by Nuri Sahin, flanked by teenagers Jesus "Suso" Fernandez and Raheem Sterling, and culminating, thrillingly, in the brilliance of Luis Suarez.

Whatever Liverpool achieve under Rodgers, Suarez will be crucial to it. Five months ago, under Kenny Dalglish, he scored a remarkable hat-trick here, climaxing in a lob from the half-way line. Even after a summer of change, under a different manager, with different team-mates, he was just as compelling yesterday. Suarez scored three, made another and should have been awarded a penalty.

"I remember his goals last year," Rodgers said afterwards, "but this was a masterclass in finishing. It was a special day for him, for him and for us. The quality of our game and play was very, very good."

It took 68 seconds for Suarez to assert himself. Glen Johnson ran down the left and tried to play in Sahin, breaking forward. The ball came back to Suarez on the edge of the box. A perfect judge of space around him, he held off Leon Barnett, spun and shot into the near bottom corner.

"We knew before the game we were up against a Liverpool team in good form," said Chris Hughton, who must have known at 1-0 it was going to be a difficult afternoon. "You cannot afford to give them the opportunities. We came up against Suarez at his most clinical. We made life very difficult for ourselves."

This was not the same Norwich defence as that 3-0 defeat five months ago. It was not Ryan Bennett and Elliot Ward at centre-back yesterday, but Barnett and Michael Turner. But the test was the same and the bafflement was the same and so were the futile solutions.

Barnett's next attempt at stopping Suarez was desperate, clumsy and strangely unpunished. Suarez ran onto a goal-kick, Barnett ran into Suarez. It was an obvious foul. Some referees, though, are less keen to give Suarez penalties than others and Mike Jones decided against it.

"It was a stonewall penalty," said Rodgers. "I feel for the guy, everyone in the ground knew it was a penalty."

Pressing from the front is important to Rodgers, and it soon brought Liverpool's second. Turner was unaware when Suarez stole the ball from him. Suarez spun, put the ball through Turner's legs and curled it into the far bottom corner. The fact that he had missed a much easier chance one minute before did not bother him, as Rodgers observed: "He doesn't get disappointed."

Norwich needed a quick goal after half-time. When the ball fell to Robert Snodgrass two feet from goal, it should have come, but, somehow, Snodgrass bounced the ball over the bar with his thigh. One minute later the game ended as a contest.

Sterling, the quickest player on the pitch, surged through the middle on the break.

He passed left to Suarez, who had his first cross blocked but found Sahin with his second. Sahin was unmarked and finished easily.

Another 10 easy minutes later, Sahin repaid the courtesy. He rolled the ball to Suarez on his left, Russell Martin stood off him and Suarez curled the ball into the corner for his third of the day and his sixth here this year.

There was still time for Pepe Reina to spill a shot for Steve Morison to pull one back before Steven Gerrard's deflected shot made it 5-1.

The final 20 minutes were – Grant Holt's consolation aside – a Joe Allen-orchestrated exercise in keep-ball, to the joy of the travelling Liverpool fans.

They sang for and applauded Gerrard and Jamie Carragher, the two most important men in the club's recent past. But they sang louder for Rodgers and Suarez, the two most important men in the club's immediate future.

Norwich City (4-4-2): Ruddy; Martin, Barnett, Garrido; Snodgrass, Howson, B Johnson, Surman (Hoolahan, 55); Jackson (Holt, h-t), Morison (Tetty, 79)

Liverpool (4-2-3-1): Reina; Wisdom, Skrtel, Agger, G. Johnson (Carragher, 73); Gerrard, Allen; Suso (Assaidi, 59), Sahin (Henderson, 66), Sterling; Suarez

Man of the match: Suarez (Liverpool)

Match rating: 8/10

Referee: Mike Jones

Man of the match: Fellaini (Everton)

Match rating: 7/10

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering