If Liverpool’s 2020 title triumph was a scintillating dream, then the defence was very much a painful nightmare.
Injuries, loss of confidence and a history-making losing run at their fortress, dogged a tortuous and underwhelming attempt to retain the trophy for much of 2020-21.
However a 10 match unbeaten run at the end of the campaign saw Jurgen Klopp’s side overcome defensive frailties in the absences of Virgil Van Dijk, and a pretty much first-team center back personnel, to somehow grab a credible third-place finish given the context of their predicament.
On the other hand, back in the Premier League, the Canaries will be eager to prove a point this time around. They will hope to remain in the top tier of English football and start their campaign on a positive note. A win or a draw will be welcomed by them to send a statement about their intentions to other teams in the Premier League.
Norwich started their pre-season with a comfortable 3-1 win over King’s Lynn town before registering back to back wins over Lincoln City and Huddersfield Town.
Daniel Farke’s side will look to refrain this Liverpool side from finding the nets and hit them with counters. Though they lost their last match against Newcastle, the yellows will look to shrug off the defeat and replicate a strong performance against Liverpool on Saturday.
The Canaries do have certain problems with Sam Bryan being ruled out of this weekend’s season opener due to a thigh injury while Tod Cantwell is rated as 50/50 to feature as things stand, due to an issue with his foot.
Liverpool on the other hand played two friendlies in August ahead of the upcoming Premier League and managed to remain undefeated in both the clashes.
Jurgen Klopp’s side enjoys playing against Norwich and has won five of the pair’s last six encounters in the Premier League.
Four of the last six clashes between Liverpool and Norwich have produced over 3.5 goals and plenty of goalmouth action is predicted this weekend as well.
Mohammad Salah top-scored for Liverpool last season with 22 Premier League goals and the 29-year-old is expected to enjoy another fruitful campaign while Norwich will be more than aware of the threat that the Egyptian carries, stopping him is another matter altogether.
Liverpool will be delighted to welcome back Van Dijk and Joe Gomez but an injury to Andy Robertson means Kostas Tsimikas should deputise. Naby Keita and Harvey Thiago Alcantara will likely vie for the third midfield slot alongside James Milner and Fabinho, while it’s a shootout between Diego Jota and Firmino to play alongside Salah and Sadio Mane.
Norwich City form guide(pre-season): W-W-W-W-L
Liverpool form guide (pre-season): D-W-L-D-W
NORWICH CITY PREDICTED XI- Tim Krul, Max Aarons, Grant Hanley, Ben Gibson, Dimitris Giannoulis, Billy Gilmour, Kenny McLean, Mario Vrannic, Milot Rashica, Todd Cantwell, Teemu Pukki.
LIVERPOOL PREDICTED XI-Alisson Becker, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joel Matip, Virgil Van Dijk, Tsimikas, Fabinho, James Milner, Thiago Alcantara, Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino.
Norwich welcomes title contenders Liverpool at Carrow Road on 14th August 2021. Kick off for this opening game will be 22:00 IST.