Soccer: Gerrard's title quest inspires all in red

By Henry Winter

Liverpool are men on a mission, chasing a first Premier League trophy since 1990.

Liverpool's Raheem Sterling (right) celebrates scoring the opening goal  against Norwich City at Carrow Road yesterday. Photo / AP
Liverpool's Raheem Sterling (right) celebrates scoring the opening goal against Norwich City at Carrow Road yesterday. Photo / AP

Liverpool fans sang about their football being "poetry in motion" but a vital 3-2 victory that took Brendan Rodgers' side closer to the title stemmed as much from the oratory of a leader, from Steven Gerrard's command to his players that "we go again".

Gerrard's sheer hunger for this Premier League trophy, his determination to stand tall in the teeth of a storm, infuses all in red.

The team's mantra has become "we go again", a rallying cry first heard in the huddle after the victory over Manchester City and now a banner, first seen draped over the training-ground wall at Melwood.

Liverpool are on a mission, chasing a first league title since 1990. Now five points clear of second-placed Chelsea with three games remaining, Gerrard can almost touch the trophy.

Nobody said it would be easy for Liverpool. Nobody said it would be a procession, even with the wobbles of Chelsea and Manchester City.

Norwich, fighting for survival, were never going to be obliging hosts.

Inspired by Robert Snodgrass and their raucous fans, Norwich made Liverpool sweat for the victory.

So Gerrard will take nothing for granted. He will just tell himself and his players that "we go again", against Chelsea on Monday (NZT) when it will be interesting to see whether Jose Mourinho rests any of his stars in advance of the second leg of the Champions League semifinal against Atletico Madrid. Will he send out a ghost team at Anfield?

Later that day, Gerrard, Luis Suarez, Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge fly south to London, along with Rodgers, for the PFA Player of the Year dinner. Sterling is an incredibly strong contender for Young Player while Suarez is expected to win the main award by a landslide.

Sterling was terrific here. He scored Liverpool's first after four minutes, cutting in from the left, eluding Bradley Johnson and unleashing a strike that took a slight deflection off Michael Turner.

Sterling then played the creator after 11 minutes, crossing from the left for Suarez - his 12th goal against Norwich in five games. "He's the first player at Liverpool to get to 30 [in the league] since Ian Rush in 1986[-87] but it's 30 goals out of 96," said Rodgers. "It shows he's an influential player, a world-class talent and a terrific talent for your team. But the team is about more than one player."

Liverpool did not seem handicapped by the absence of the suspended Jordan Henderson or the injured Sturridge. Joe Allen delivered one of his best displays in a Liverpool shirt, a force in both boxes, repelling an attack one moment and then speeding forward to bring a good save from John Ruddy.

Norwich began to sense some hope in the second half, tweaking their formation. "They changed shape and went 4-2-3-1 and got the goal to get the crowd going and give them momentum," Rodgers said.

Sterling briefly soothed Liverpool's nerves after 62 minutes, but Norwich scored again with 13 minutes left.

The managers made their moves. Adams sent on Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Josh Murphy. Rodgers went to a back five with Allen replaced by Daniel Agger. Van Wolfswinkel missed a glorious chance but headed straight at Simon Mignolet. Norwich fans sighed. They are far from safe. Liverpool are close to their target. They go again.

- Daily Telegraph UK

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