By Christopher Boulay
Coming off of the win in the League Cup against West Bromwich Albion, Liverpool heads to the South East looking to grab the first league win of the season against Norwich City side.
The club may have played the League Cup match with a squad filled with youngsters, but the plan worked. Manager Brendan Rodgers was able to showcase some future talent for the Reds, and fans saw a few players that they may see more of in the league this season.
Turkish international and Real Madrid loanee Nuri Sahin scored a brace to help Liverpool advance to the next round against Swansea City, while Oussama Assaidi showed the supporters what he is capable of on the wing. Overall, it is a situation that can only make the club’s faithful feel optimistic.
However, this is not the case for the league. Liverpool has already played five matches this season, while only managing two draws. Last week’s loss to Manchester United was difficult to swallow, but there are some who believe this stretch can right the ship. In addition to the Canaries, Liverpool will face Stoke City and Reading before squaring off with Everton at the end of October.
While Norwich may not look to be on the same course as it was last year – when the club finished eighth – the squad could cause trouble for the Reds. Canaries manager Chris Hughton has an opportunity to keep Norwich City in the Premier League for a second consecutive season, and he certainly has the talent to do so.
Former Leeds midfielders Robert Snodgrass and Jonny Howson give their midfield a significant boost, while strikers Simeon Jackson, Grant Holt and Steve Morison could raise hell against a weakened and out-of-form Liverpool back four. Life this season hasn’t been great for Norwich, as the club is level on points with Liverpool, at present. The club lost a close match last weekend v Newcastle, and drew newly-promoted West Ham the week before. Despite this, the hope for the Canaries is to stay up, as it is still early times. If achieved, it could be the beginning of a long stay in the Premier League.
Daniel Agger may be able to feature in the squad on Saturday, which could be a huge boost to the defense, especially after Agger’s injury. However, forward Fabio Borini could be unavailable for the match because of an ankle problem from the Manchester United match.
The momentum gained by the players against Manchester United could have a lasting effect on the club in the league, for better, or the difficult loss could prove to hurt their confidence. Having leaders on the team available and performing well may help this process go a bit more easily. With the less difficult leg of the schedule now here, Liverpool may need to take full advantage of this opportunity.
Liverpool v Manchester United
When: Saturday, September 29, 1000 EST/1500 GMT
Where: Carrow Road, Norwich
Previous Premier League match: Liverpool 1-2 Manchester United, Newcastle 1-0 Norwich
League Position 2011-12: Liverpool 18th (2 points), Norwich City 17th (3 points)
Projected Norwich City Starting 11
DEF: Barnett, R Martin, Bassong, Garrido
MID: Snodgrass, Howson, Hoolahan, Pilkington
FW: Holt, Jackson
Subs from: Rudd, Turner, R Bennett, Tierney, Surman, Fox, Morison, Tettey, Martin
Projected Liverpool Starting 11
DEF: Johnson, Agger, Skrtel, Enrique
MID: Gerrard, Allen, Sahin
FW: Sterling, Suarez, Assaidi
Subs from: Jones, Kelly, Flanagan, Coates, Carragher, Robinson, Cole, Henderson, Downing, Borini
Interact: What’s your projected lineup and final score prediction? Comment below.