Liverpool did little to alleviate the mounting pressure on Brendan Rodgers after Russell Martin cancelled out Danny Ings’ first goal for his new club to salvage a 1-1 draw for Norwich City at Anfield on Sunday.
Ings made an almost instant impact as a half-time substitute, breaking the deadlock early in the second period, but Liverpool failed to build on that lead and Martin equalised to secure a point, increasing the heat on the under-fire Rodgers.
Liverpool, who had Daniel Sturridge back in the team for the first time since April, controlled the first half without looking completely convincing in front of goal.
But Ings, who replaced the injured Christian Benteke at half-time, took just two minutes to make an impact, providing a tidy finish with his left foot from a narrow angle.
Liverpool’s jubilation was short-lived, though, as Martin took full advantage of sloppy goalkeeping from Simon Mignolet to restore parity with his third goal of the season.
Liverpool should have taken all three points late on when Philippe Coutinho wasted a glorious one-on-one opportunity, but Norwich held firm in the face of intense pressure to clinch a commendable point.
Rodgers was given the boost of having Coutinho and Sturridge back in the team as he made four changes from the side which lost to Manchester United last weekend and both looked lively early on.
Sturridge played a pivotal role in Liverpool’s first opportunity of the game 18 minutes in, driving into the area and teeing up James Milner on the edge of the area, only for the eventual effort to be blocked by Robbie Brady.
Although Norwich looked a threat going forward, particularly through Nathan Redmond and Matt Jarvis out wide, Liverpool were in charge of possession.
Nevertheless, Liverpool’s final pass continued to let them down and long-range efforts were relied upon, as Nathaniel Clyne fired just wide from 25 yards after half an hour.
Liverpool began to increase the pressure shortly after, though, and Sturridge wasted a fine chance, firing straight at John Ruddy from 12 yards, before Milner tested the goalkeeper with a powerful volley from outside the box in the 42nd minute.
Benteke was forced off at the break with a knock, but the change provided the spark Liverpool needed, as Ings latched on to Alberto Moreno’s lofted pass and coolly fired between Ruddy’s legs just two minutes after coming on.
Liverpool failed to add to their lead, however, and Norwich eventually hit back just after the hour mark – Martin making the most of a Mignolet error from a corner to neatly lob the ball over the Belgian and equalise.
Further chances fell to both sides in the following exchanges, but Mignolet denied Brady a certain goal from point-blank range, before Ruddy palmed a Moreno drive over.
Norwich were forced to withstand great pressure towards the end and somehow remained level when Coutinho inexplicably failed to beat Ruddy when clean through 12 minutes from time, and Ings almost got a shot away after dribbling past several challenges a few moments later.
The visitors ultimately stuck to their task well and kept Liverpool at bay, though Rodgers’ side will no doubt see it as a missed opportunity to return to winning ways.
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