LUIS SUAREZ HIT a hat-trick as Liverpool tasted victory in the Premier League for the first time under manager Brendan Rodgers with a 5-2 win at Norwich today.
Nuri Sahin and Steven Gerrard were also on target at Carrow Road as Liverpool inflicted a second successive defeat upon Norwich, who saw Steve Morison and Grant Holt score their goals.
Victory lifted Liverpool out of the bottom three and left Norwich still searching for a first league win under their new manager, Chris Hughton.
Suarez was outstanding, just as he had been at Carrow Road last season when he scored all three goals in a 3-0 win.
Rodgers chose a youthful starting line-up by handing first Premier League starts to 19-year-old Andre Wisdom and 18-year-old Jesus Joaquin Fernandez Saez de la Torre, the Spanish midfielder better known as Suso.
The changes appeared to work instantly as Liverpool took the lead through Suarez after just 67 seconds. Glen Johnson’s pass to Sahin in the Norwich penalty area was intercepted by Michael Turner but Suarez was first to the loose ball and planted it low in the corner of the net.
Pepe Reina, the Liverpool goalkeeper, made a good save at his near post after Simeon Jackson, Norwich’s Canada international forward, diverted a wayward shot from Russell Martin.
Suarez felt he should have been awarded a penalty in the 22nd minute when Leon Barnett challenged him from behind as they chased a bouncing ball.
Contact was certainly made on the forward’s shoulders but referee Mike Jones waved play on. Norwich had goalkeeper John Ruddy to thank for the save that kept out a powerful header from Liverpool and England captain Gerrard.
The home side retaliated with a spell of pressure but Liverpool doubled their lead through Suarez in the 38th minute. The Uruguay forward had wasted a straightforward opportunity seconds earlier by firing across goal and wide after being put clear of the Norwich back-line by Daniel Agger.
But the resulting goal-kick proved to be Norwich’s undoing as Suarez robbed Turner of possession on the edge of the box, pushed the ball through the unfortunate defender’s legs and then beat Ruddy.
Norwich sent on Holt for Jackson at the break but within two minutes Liverpool were three ahead through Sahin, the on-loan Real Madrid midfielder.
Andrew Surman lost possession in the middle, which allowed Raheem Sterling to run at the Norwich back-line and release Suarez on the left of the box. Suarez beat a defender skilfully but saw his cross blocked.
Again it was only half-cleared, however, and Suarez set up Sahin for a simple finish from six yards. Suarez’s third came soon afterwards in the 58th minute via a shot curled low past Ruddy’s reach from the edge of the box after Sahin had set him up.
Norwich pulled a goal back in the 61st minute through Morison after Martin, the right-back, had charged forward and blasted a shot that rebounded off Reina’s chest. Liverpool lost little time in restoring their four-goal advantage however, with Sterling, the 17-year-old winger, getting goal-side of Javier Garrido to accept a pass and crossing for Gerrard to find the net via a hefty deflection off Barnett in the 68th minute.
Holt pulled another goal back four minutes from time after capitalising on Martin Skrtel’s failure to intercept a pass than allowed the forward to stride forward and plant a shot beyond Reina.