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Premier League

  • October 22, 2011
  • • 17:30
  • • Anfield, Liverpool
  • Referee: P. Walton
  • • Attendance: 44931

Liverpool 1-1 Norwich City: Grant Holt header gives Canaries deserved point after Craig Bellamy opener for flat Reds

The home side had many chances in a frenetic match, but in injury time, an Andy Carroll miss and a John Ruddy save denied them a winner and gave the visitors a share of the spoils

Liverpool were held by a resilient Norwich City side as Grant Holt came off the bench to cancel out Craig Bellamy's first-half opener in a thrilling 1-1 Premier League draw at Anfield.

Kenny Dalglish named striker Bellamy for his first Premier League start since rejoining the club from Manchester City, with recovered captain Steven Gerrard continuing in midfield. Paul Lambert kept faith with the side that beat Swansea a week previously, with Canaries skipper Holt forced to continue to settle for the bench.

Within two minutes the first chance arrived. Charlie Adam swung a corner in that the Canaries allowed Martin Skrtel a free header at towards the near post, but the Slovakian’s effort bounced back off the crossbar.

Only a minute later, in a nervous start for the visitors, Luis Suarez turned impressively on the edge of the area and flashed a low shot slightly wide of the post.

A fraught 10 minutes was nearly capped with an excellent goal when Bellamy, fed superbly down the left by Adam, swept it in to Suarez in the area, who hit a one-touch effort that was seemingly goal-bound before John Ruddy intervened to somehow divert it onto the post. Stewart Downing looked destined to volley the rebound in but he fluffed the chance.

Another opportunity for Suarez followed when he curled himself around a flighted pass around the six-yard box and whipped his shot wide of the far post.

Finally, after 20 minutes, the visitors made an excursion forward, a tricky cross from the right forcing the Reds to concede a corner under pressure from Anthony Pilkington, with Steve Morison rising to head over from the resulting set-piece.

The move seemed to signal the end of Liverpool’s dominating opening period, with Dalglish’s men losing their potency somewhat in the final third, though maintaining overwhelming possession.

In the 40th minute, Downing lofted a high ball from the right towards the far post, but Suarez’s header was weak and dealt with accordingly.

Just when Liverpool looked to be going into half-time with nothing to show for their superiority, Bellamy profited from a ricochet as he sped towards the area, giving him space for a shot that took a significant deflection off Marc Tierney and bobbed into the net as the last action of the half.

First-half lead | Bellamy put the Reds ahead with a goal in front of the Kop

The game resumed with Norwich looking to peg the Reds back immediately. Morison showed impressive strength to hold the ball up on the edge of the area and smuggle it to Pilkington, whose snap-shot was well saved.

A great chance for the home side followed. Suarez controlled the ball well before leaving Leon Barnett for dead and shooting, but a deflection from Russell Martin’s last-minute tackle saw it hit the post and come free.

With Liverpool again on top, Lambert brought Holt into the mix to partner Morison, and the tactical change paid off almost immediately. On the hour, Pilkington delivered an excellent cross from the right. Jose Reina came for it but got tangled with his defenders and Holt remained calm to bury a fine header into the waiting net.

With the hosts in shock, an invigorated Norwich came forward again and Holt was allowed to jump in the area untroubled. His header, aimed for the far post, was palmed away strongly by Reina.

Liverpool pushed back with the impressive Suarez outmuscling Barnett to shoot once more, but Ruddy got a hand to it to keep things even in the suddenly-electric match.

Wes Hoolahan was next to come close at the other end, the midfielder conjuring a shot from far out that curled just over the top corner.

Suarez then once again bamboozled Barnett to free himself in the area but his angle was too tight to be of real threat. What seemed a golden chance followed when the substitute Andy Carroll’s header found the Uruguayan just in front of Ruddy, but the striker was called offside even as he dribbled his shot wide.

Liverpool, desperate, sought the towering Carroll at the end, and deep in stoppage time a cross found the hulking striker in the box for what should have been the decisive blow, but the £35 million man contrived to head wide in a poor miss.

Just when the Reds must have thought they had blown it, a final chance arrived through the ever-threatening Suarez. The forward aimed a classy volley at goal but Ruddy produced a moment of magic to leap up and deny him to salvage the point at full-time.

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