It has taken a month or two but those words could clearly be heard ringing round Carrow Road as Liverpool romped to a resounding 2-5 victory over the Canaries, recording their first Premier League win of the new season in the process.
The match itself stood out for a number of reasons; not least Suarez’s brilliance, as he smashed in one of the finest hat-tricks your ever likely to see (all from outside the penalty area), made Nuri Sahin’s goal and tortured the home defence so relentlessly and gleefully throughout the ninety minutes, that they’ll likely be traumatised by the experience for years to come.
Suarez has now got six goals in five Premier League games this season, seven in eight in all competitions and 28 in 57 starts since joining Liverpool, however the lazy narrative about him not being a natural goalscorer persists. The statistics speak for themselves, do they not?
Anyway, enough of Luis, for as well as he played individually, that performance was about the team coming together. Gerrard had another great game; following on from his showing against United the week before, the England captain bossed the midfield, working in perfect harmony with Joe Allen and Nuri Sahin. Allen showed his class the second he arrived at Anfield and, now that his match fitness is almost back, Nuri Sahin has shown Reds fans exactly where he fits into this Liverpool side with three goals in a week.
Glen Johnson has arguably been Liverpool’s most consistent performer under Brendan Rodgers and the Norwich victory proved no different. Deployed on the left again, Johnson was tireless in his raiding and more than capable when called on to defend. All in all the performance was excellent, aside from a couple of defensive errors which, although slightly worrying, appeared for the most part to be down to complacency/lack of concentration.
A first win of the season then – and a thumping one at that – cause for optimism or just a good day at the office? When considering this question it’s important to look at things in the context of the season as a whole and in particular the last five or six games (prior to Sunday’s game v Stoke). So far under Brendan Rodgers, Liverpool have played thirteen competitive games, winning six, losing four and drawing three. Apart from the loss to Arsenal at Anfield and the Europa League ties with Hearts, the performances in all games have been of a high standard. There’s no doubt that the games against both Manchester clubs should have been won and, but for individual and refereeing errors which served to upset the natural balance of both games, Liverpool would be four points better off in the league.
Since the Arsenal blip, fans have begun to properly see Brendan Rodgers’ philosophy come to the fore starting at the Stadium of Light. Liverpool have dominated every game they have played, controlling possession, playing patiently and sensibly, Gerrard and Suarez have begun to adapt their games’ to the Ulsterman’s style, the ball is being given away far less, being won back far quicker and the team is showing that they have the ability to penetrate the opposition with clever movement and crisp passing.
In the space of a month, Liverpool fans have gone from deadline day doom and gloom to optimistic hopes and dreams, why? Two words, Brendan Rodgers! Raheem Sterling was buzzing around the first team last year under Kenny Dalglish but he was fortunate to get ten minutes at the end of a game, Rodgers has had the confidence and faith to throw him in and my word hasn’t he dazzled. Suso, another youngster this time signed by Rafa , has been showing his class in youth tournaments for years but, in all honesty, can any Liverpool fan out there tell me that they expected him to be a regular member of the first team this season? Not without Rodgers! The list goes on, Wisdom, Shelvey, Robinson; all of a sudden LFC has strength in depth and one of the most exciting young teams in the Premier League.
Daniel Agger has signed a new deal as will Suso, following Skrtel and Suarez who committed themselves in the summer as did Jonjo Shelvey, who’s come on leaps and bounds over the summer and the early part of the season. Sahin is at Anfield until next summer at least and, the way these things go, could well become a permanent member of the Rodgers set-up. Johnson is in the form of his life and looks to be at the peak of his powers, Steven Gerrard is finally at full fitness and, along with Suarez, playing as part of a team for the first time in a long time.
Things are looking up at Anfield under Rodgers, the results against Udinese and Stoke not -withstanding. Udinese was another game that the home side dominated and really should have won. Individual errors proved costly again, however with a heavily weakened back four in place the implications for the league campaign should be minimal. The manner of the performance was again, for the most part, convincing, dominant and classy, with Suarez unlucky not to get his second hat-trick in five days after coming on as a substitute with around twenty minutes left.
The Rodgers evolution continues at pace, and a top four finish is by no means out of the question. Luis Suarez has been abominably treated by referees so far, so much so that defenders now know they can get away with taking him down, in or outside the box, and likely escape punishment. With the incidents now receiving mainstream media attention perhaps this week will herald a change in the uniquely gifted Uruguayan’s fortunes. One thing’s for sure, the fans will be ready: “we’re gonna have a party, we’re gonna have a party, we’re gonna have a par-ty, when Suarez gets a pen!”
You can catch up with Neil on Twitter @Neil1980 and on his blog http://itsallinthegameblog.wordpress.com/