Premier League - Liverpool held by gutsy Norwich

Sat, 22 Oct 19:25:00 2011

Norwich City claimed an unlikely point with a second-half equaliser to draw 1-1 and deny Liverpool in a pulsating Premier League encounter at Anfield.

Liverpool 1 Norwich 1

Craig Bellamy struck on the stroke of half-time to give Liverpool a deserved lead with the hosts denied by the woodwork on three occasions, and it looked set to be a comfortable win for Kenny Dalglish's side.

But substitute Grant Holt's bullet header on the hour mark levelled the scores to stun the hosts, and the doughty Canaries clung on to take a point, much to Liverpool's frustration.

Dalglish made two changes from the draw with Manchester United as Glen Johnson made his first start of the season and Bellamy replaced the suspended Lucas, while lifelong Reds fan Steve Morison occupied the lone starting berth for the Canaries, who were unchanged for the fifth successive match.

The hosts were almost in front as early as the third minute after Bradley Johnson conceded a corner and Martin Skrtel struck the crossbar with a glancing header from Charlie Adam's exquisite delivery from an early corner.

Two minutes later, Luis Suarez swivelled inside both Kyle Naughton and Leon Barnett with a sublime turn, but saw his shot drift agonisingly wide of the far post with John Ruddy in the Norwich goal comprehensively beaten.

Liverpool were denied by the woodwork for a second time in the 11th minute as Adam picked out Bellamy with a raking diagonal ball, and the Welshman squared the ball to the irrepressible Suarez, who side-footed the ball against the far post.

Norwich always looked dangerous on the counter-attack, and captain Wes Hoolahan could have put the visitors in front as he latched on to a through ball from Johnson but could only shoot straight at Pepe Reina.

Suarez was at the forefront of everything for Liverpool, and the Uruguayan was furious with himself as he headed tamely on target in the 41st minute with Ruddy able to save comfortably after Stewart Downing stood the ball up for the forward at the back post.

But Liverpool did break the deadlock in first-half added time as Russell Martin was caught out by a long ball upfield, and the opportunistic Bellamy scurried in to shoot with a deflection off Marc Tierney outfoxing Ruddy.

The second half was played at a similarly frenetic tempo as the play lurched from one end to the other, and Norwich had the first chance after the break as Reina made a fine save from Anthony Pilkington's rasping low drive after the winger picked the ball up on the edge of the Liverpool box.

Dirk Kuyt then failed to connect with a free header inside the Norwich box, before Suarez took a through ball into his stride superbly and jinked between two challenges before stabbing a low shot against the near post. It was the third time the woodwork had come to Norwich's rescue.

But the visitors stunned Anfield to level on the hour mark, as a pinpoint cross from Pilkington exposed Reina, who raced off his line but didn't get to the ball, and substitute Holt powered a stunning header into the back of the net to equalise. It was a response Paul Lambert's side always threatened.

Liverpool suddenly looked apprehensive at the back as another devilish delivery picked out Holt, who produced another bullet header from close range, but this time Reina was equal to it and managed to parry to safety.

Both sides pressed forward relentlessly in what was a breathless finale with substitute Andy Carroll heading wide from close range and Ruddy making an inspired save in stoppage-time to thwart Suarez, but Norwich clung on to claim what will represent a treasured point.

Dan Quarrell - on Twitter @danquarrell / Eurosport

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