Given that Daniel Farke had barely a day to work with his players since the capitulation to Watford, it should come as no surprise to any Canary fan that, once again, there was a familiar theme to this defeat. The Sky commentator summed it up in eight words. Too porous at the back. Too blunt up front.
Farke switched to three central defenders, but it only took Liverpool four minutes to demonstrate that you can have as many back there as you like, in none of them attack the ball, it doesn’t matter.
For the whole game, Liverpool targeted City’s zonal marking with looping corners. Only the first was successful but it was enough. Origi beat three players in yellow to the ball. Minamino was too quick with the turn and shot.
City had a chance to hit straight back with a quick counter. Gilmour made a good run to play in Tzolis but the subsequent cross was frustratingly too heavy for Idah.
There then followed a period where, despite some good work in midfield, City just couldn’t get a toe hold on the game. After 15 minutes, it was 65 per cent possession to the visitors but City began to grow into the game, having more success beating the press.
Rupp was neat and industrious whilst Tzolis was battling well and at the centre of some good City moves. Gilmour was also displaying some of the qualities that made Webber so keen to secure his services.
On 26 minutes, City were pinned in at the back. Giannoulis cut inside with a pacy run but was fouled. Hanley played the free-kick to Gilmour and the young scot found Tzolis in space on the left. His final ball didn’t match the rest of the move. Minutes later, Giannoulis played a great ball to his international colleague, but his shot hit the side netting.
Liverpool were always dangerous in possession, targeting the gap between the three City defenders and the wing-backs, particularly Bali Mumba. On 33. Gomez played Tsimikas in but Omobamidele did well to recover and block the shot.
On 41 minutes came City’s big chance. A ball out of defence found Mumba on the right. His turn and flick found Gilmour who made a surging run before he found Tzolis. The young Greek hit a stinging shot that Kelleher could only palm away. Giannoulis, rushing onto it, cleverly got his body between ball and defender drawing the foul. Penalty.
Tzolis stepped up and hit it firmly down the middle. Too firmly as it hit the legs of the diving Kelleher. Idah’s follow up was blocked. Chance gone.
City were unchanged in the second half. By this I don’t mean the 11 on the pitch even though there were no substitutions. Unchanged in that it took just four minutes to succumb to Liverpool. This time it was that ball again, between the back three and the wing-backs. Mumba was left with two players and was unable to stop the cross.
This time, Origi found the space between centre backs and nodded home.
From thereon in, Liverpool took the sting out of the game, and City were unable to force the issue.
On 68 minutes, Pukki replaced Tzolis and Rashica replaced Mumba, who had had a quiet game and emphasised how much of a hole will be left when Max Aarons eventually departs NR1.
The two substitutes combined immediately but Pukki’s ball wide to Idah was too firm and went out of play. On 76, Dowell replaced Pierre Lees-Melou.
City huffed and puffed but were unable to carve out a dangerous chance. Pukki scuffed wide, Idah hit a speculative overhead kick weakly, then hit a further good chance straight at the keeper when a ball to Pukki looked a better option.
It was all over on 79 minutes. City battled well to win possession from a Liverpool throw-in deep in City territory, only for Giannoulis to give the ball away. Minamino somehow skipped and tripped his way through the City defence and scuffed the ball past Gunn.
And that, as they say, was all folks. A really mixed night.
While the three at the back solved precisely nothing for City’s current defensive woes, pushing the wingbacks forward made the midfield trio look like the most balanced solution so far. Rupp tidying, turning and giving, Gilmour moving the ball well and Lees-Melou adding muscle and attacking intent.
Up front, Tzolis added some welcome energy and put the Liverpool defence under pressure and intercepted a number of loose balls. Ultimately his final ball was lacking and if only hie penalty had gone in. There were glimpses of his chemistry with Giannoulis – who had a reasonable game, let down by the mistake for the final goal.
We are told that those at Colney really rate Adam Idah. Tonight just wasn’t his night. He battled and harried but ultimately nothing fell for him. He combined well with Pukki in the final minutes though, showing that an attacking axis of Idah, Pukki and Sargent may offer something for opponents to think about.
So back to the elephant in the stadium. That central defence.
The defenders all played well individually, but as a unit they were some way short of par. On a number of occasions, a single player won the ball in the air from three, four and once, even five City defenders.
If Farke can just sort this out, then it will make a vast difference to the results. From his pre-match presser, it sounds like he knows this.
Beyond St. Kilda says
There is an incipient awfulness about this team that demands that Daniel Farke steps up to the plate and shows some metal, and I sincerely hope that he is up to the job. I don’t believe that the entire squad is rubbish but heavens above he needs to sort them out. A starting point would be, you are going to take the penalty. For crying out loud, how basic is that ?
Glen Griffiths says
Year olds can defend better than that! Pathetic and what is Hanley doing, one good game and then 4 poor games . Got too be dropped!!
I said it before and I’ll say it again….we just can’t defend ! Simples !
I never thought I’d say this but fingers need pointing at Stuart Webber….
Why didn’t we stump up the extra £3.5m to get our so called ‘No 1 target’ Kristoffer Ajer from Celtic, who ends up at a relegation rival club and has made an immediate impact ? This is an occupational hazard at Norwich going back to the days of not putting in the extra cash to sign players such as Dean Windass, Virgil Van Dijk, to name just two….Sorry but Ben Gibson is not a PL defender…..Burnley must’ve seen something that we didn’t as he hardly featured for them in his time at Turf Moor. Questions also have to be asked of Mr G. Hanley esquire too. Three central defenders on the pitch last night and we still got picked off from crosses. That’s schoolboy stuff. Keystone Cops defending.
And why did we purchase two similar left sided attackers (Rashica and Tallis);when Cantwell played in that role in PL two years ago and looked both comfortable and threatening playing on the left side of midfield ?
Ask yourselves this ? Have we wasted the transfer budget on attacking threats when all along we knew defensive reinforcements were the key to attacking the PL this time round ? Have we not learnt anything from two years ago ?
I’m ever the optimist but I fear a winter of discontent around Carrow Road in these coming months….
Probably more than 10 centre backs under Farke,s tenure, from Russell Martin to Kabak, yet still we look like a colander . Defending corners with 4 or 5 in a row on 6 yard line watching the ball, while on rushing attackers come in with the advantage.. Crazy, sorry Mr Farke go to a more traditional defensive set up, that virtually all the players have played. As to Idah, I have seen very little to back up the praise coming out from Conley, might be good in training but on the field lacking. Hate to say that to one of our own. But up against Gomez it looked like boy Vs man. But then the Liverpool kids were sharper technically better, than some of ours.
A Chap near me wanted us to make an offer on their second string.
Too good for Championship – Not good enough for premiership, Farkes tactics that is I think we have the talent to be a country mile better than this
So far I have only read about Farke,s anger over the penalty taker, deflection from the issues, perhaps.
Matthew Taylor-Green says
Basic errors, I feel Hanley may have to step back and give youth a go. It has been proven over the years that he finds premier league a step to far. Kabak, Gibson, Omobamidele should be central mix we are working with.
Please please can someone tell our goal keepers they can pass the ball longer than 10 yards, we just invite the press constantly and the ball stays around our box, it’s like a game of school yard goalie when or headers and volleys.
Positive is I believe a 5,3,2 formation could work with a bit more consistency and learning how not to gift the opposition. OTBC….
Alex B says
Where do you start an U18 inexperienced team beat City.
I am think the message has gone out to all clubs be fast out the blocks and Norwich can’t cope.
Where some clubs are getting their second wind at 20mins City are still trying to find their first and get into the game.
The excuse of not enough time on the training ground is wearing thin and some of the players really need to look at themselves.
Last night it looked like Gibson was trying to blame anyone but himself for the goals, Hanley had a poor game but trying to mark Origi who is 5inches taller at crosses was never going to work.
Andrew O had a quiet game so our 3 at the back was not good.
Last time in the premiership our terrible results were down to horrendous injuries in defence we can’t blame injuries this time.
DF needs to get more street wise at defending, stop Zonal marking we don’t have players that can carry it out.
Gunn was let down with the covering he got but as with Krul his distribution under pressure was poor.
Passing back to the keeper continuously doesn’t relieve pressure it just brings it on and poor distribution just does the same.
SW needs to look at the free market and find a stop gap to kick start our season maybe a CB with a big on field presence.
Last night lack someone to put the foot in Where it hurt even with 3 CB you still need a DM to disrupt the oopposition or the U18 will over run you.
Norwich 3 central defenders were too often too close or far of each other, too much empty spaces. It didnt help that wing backs were not able to play their role. Norwich defensive problems have not been just central defenders, players who defend wings make too much positional errors. This was a mess, defensive players looks to have lost their confidence and their overall quality has already not been in premier league level. Premier league has improved tactically thanks to foreign managers, they check players weaknesses carefully.
Idah was just like I have seen him playing before, not really improvement. Zsolis penalty was horror, low in the middle.
Farke surely has selection and playing system headache, Norwich does not have enough centrebacks to play regularly 3 at back and difficult to see that someone would be able to play enough successful as wing back.
Against Everton Pukki, Krul, Normann, Sargeant starts, maybe he give sorensen a chance. Everton have huge striker problems, likely because of that there is no point to play 3 at back. If Everton is also able to score 3 or more goals against Norwich with lineup they are forced to play, there is very little hope that something would suddenly change. Individual errors means always lack of quality and honestly last season in championship Norwich defend looked statistically good thanks to opponents low quality scoring ability.