Liverpool 1-1 Norwich City: Russell Martin cancels out Danny Ings opener
Last Updated: 21/09/15 8:11am
Liverpool were left frustrated as Norwich City came from behind to earn a 1-1 draw at Anfield on Sunday.
The pre-match hype was around the returning Daniel Sturridge, but it was Danny Ings who stole the headlines when he came off the bench to give the hosts the lead early in the second half.
Liverpool looked to be heading towards their first win in four games, until Norwich fought back and Russell Martin scored with a brilliant looping finish to level the scores.
The goal capped a brilliant day for the Norwich City captain who witnessed the birth of his child in the morning, before flying up to Merseyside to make kick-off.
Liverpool surged forward in search of a winner, but John Ruddy made a string of brilliant saves to deny Brendan Rodgers' side victory.
The draw leaves Liverpool in 13th after six games, level on eight points with Norwich in 11th.
Rodgers put Sturridge straight into the starting line-up after a five-month injury lay-off as Liverpool went in search of a much-needed win.
But like Liverpool, the England international looked rusty - lacking tempo and guile in attack. Norwich did a fantastic job of frustrating the hosts with a well organised, disciplined performance.
They restricted Liverpool to toothless possession football and whenever the hosts looked to breach the defensive lines with a killer pass there was a yellow and green barricade standing in the way.
In their desperation to ease the tension at Anfield, James Milner and Sturridge went looking for penalties with apparent dives. Unimpressed, referee Anthony Taylor waved played on.
For all their huff and puff, Liverpool only fashioned one clear-cut chance in the first half and it fell to returning hero Sturridge.
Sloppy play from Martin presented Lucas with the ball and the Brazilian midfielder slid a pass into the feet of Sturridge, who was standing in acres of space with just Ruddy to beat.
Rather than take a touch, Sturridge snatched at the chance and fired a tame first-time shot straight at Ruddy who beat it out.
After a laboured first half performance and a tweak to his hamstring, Christian Benteke went off at half-time, with Ings taking his place.
The summer signing made an instant impact, scoring with one of his first touches. The impressive Alberto Moreno, who looked like Liverpool's most dangerous player during the 90 minutes, clipped a ball over the top to Ings who raced clear of his marker and slid a smart finish under the advancing Ruddy. The tension around the stadium was lifting, giving Liverpool the freedom to express themselves.
Just after the hour mark they lost concentration and the visitors stunned Anfield. Martin did brilliantly to chest down a clearance from Simon Mignolet and loop it back over the goalkeeper to make it 1-1.
Buoyed by the goal the visitors nearly took the lead when Matt Jarvis met a cross from Nathan Redmond with a side-foot finish, but Mignolet did well to block the close-range effort with his legs.
Rodgers replaced a frustrated Sturridge with Roberto Firmino as he went looking for the win. The Brazilian almost replicated the impact of Ings with a stinging shot that Ruddy beat out.
The best chance fell to Coutinho, who will have nightmares about his miss tonight. After a quick counter-attack the Liverpool midfielder found himself one-on-one with Ruddy. The Norwich goalkeeper stayed big and used his body to block the Brazilian's shot.
Coutinho could have squared the ball to a team-mate, but he hesitated and wasted the chance.
Liverpool kept pushing forward, but Norwich stood firm and defended excellently to earn a point.
Canaries boss Alex Neil will take great encouragement from this result which will give his newly-promoted side real belief they can do more than just survive in this league.
Liverpool: Mignolet (6), Clyne (6), Skrtel (6), Sakho (6), Moreno (8), Lucas (7), Can (6), Milner (7), Coutinho (7), Benteke (5), Sturridge (5)
Subs: Firmino (5), Lallana (6), Ings (7)
Norwich: Ruddy (8), Whittaker (7), Martin (7), Bassong (6), Brady (7); Redmond (6), Dorrans (6), Tettey (6), Jarvis (6), Howson (6), Jerome (5)
Subs: Grabban (5), O'Neil (5)
Man of the match: John Ruddy