Norwich City vs Liverpool: Key BattlesAugust 12, 2021
A look at where Saturday’s game could be won or lost for the Reds.
Liverpool kickstart their season with an eagerly anticipated trip to Carrow Road this weekend. Having lost there only once in the Premier League era, Reds fans have a reason to be hopeful.
Moreover, the Merseysiders have not tasted defeat in their opening fixture since 2012 – another good omen.
However, standing in their way is a Norwich side, fresh off a glimmering season in the Championship. After picking up 97 points on their way to becoming champions, they will be eager to confound their growing reputation as a “Yo-Yo Club”.
So, ahead of Saturday, LFC Transfer Room takes a look at the key battles that could determine this fixture.Ibrahima Konate vs Teemu Pukki
Liverpool’s marquee signing looks set to make his competitive debut after a bunch of convincing displays in pre-season.
His likely opponent will be Teemu Pukki, who happened to score against the Reds in the 2019/20 season opener. The Fin comes off the back of an impressive goalscoring campaign, after netting 26 times for the Canaries last season.
Following his £36million arrival, it will be interesting to see how Konate fares against the forward if Klopp does indeed give him the nod.Kostas Tsimikas vs Pierre Lees-Melou
After suffering ligament damage during Liverpool’s recent friendly against Athletic Bilbao, Andy Robertson is expected to miss Saturday’s game. This, therefore, hands Kostas Tsimikas an opportunity to make a rare start and continue his impressive pre-season form.
Norwich may likely hand winger Pierre Lees-Melou his league debut, after signing him from Nice in a £5.1million deal. According to FBref.com, the Frenchman ranks in the 92nd percentile for expected non-penalty goals (0.15) and the 88th percentile for pressures (22.61) per 90.
Keep an eye on this one.Mohamed Salah vs Ben Gibson
Ahead of his fifth season at the club, Liverpool’s talismanic forward has his eyes set on yet another record. Just three goals shy of the Premier League ‘100 Club’, Salah would become only the eighth Reds player to achieve such a feat. A hat-trick akin to last season’s opener against Leeds United would be warmly welcome for the Egyptian.
Liverpool ran out 4-1 winners the last time these sides met on the opening weekend. (Photo by PA Images/Sipa USA)
Ben Gibson will prove stern opposition though, after starring for Norwich last campaign. Now signed on a permanent basis, the Englishman will be keen to live up to his price tag of just over £8million.
So, who will come out on top in this exciting matchup?