x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Holt goal gives Norwich a lift

Striker scores the equaliser for the inspired visitors to hold Liverpool 1-1 at Anfield on Saturday.

LIVERPOOL // Liverpool were held for a second successive Premier League match as Norwich secured a 1-1 draw at Anfield on Saturday.

Striker Craig Bellamy marked his first start since returning to Liverpool in August with a goal in first-half stoppage time.

But Grant Holt levelled on the hour - just three minutes after coming off the bench - after meeting Anthony Pilkington's cross with a powerful header.

"I thought we rode our luck a little bit in the first half," Holt said. "The manager's put a belief in us that we just keep going. The lads have done fantastic and we've worked hard."

The point lifted promoted Norwich to seventh, just three points behind fifth-place Liverpool.

Had it not been for the woodwork Liverpool would have enjoyed a much more comfortable evening as twice within the opening 12 minutes the team came within inches of scoring.

Martin Skrtel's glancing header from Charlie Adam's corner crashed against the crossbar and Luis Suarez's first sight of goal saw him uncharacteristically miss the target from the left side of the penalty area.

Norwich briefly threatened when Wes Hoolahan's shot and Steve Morison's header were both fumbled by Pepe Reina, although in between that Suarez had fired across goal in front of the Kop.

Apart from that brief spell, Norwich, who had won three of their last four matches, had to resist Liverpool domination.

But just when it seemed the hosts had failed to take advantage, Bellamy scored. Suarez's nuisance factor in the Norwich defence saw him tussle with Russell Martin, allowing the ball to drop to Bellamy on the edge of the area and his low shot took a deflection off Tierney on its way past goalkeeper John Ruddy.

Bellamy left Norwich 11 years ago and on his travels around various clubs in the Premier League spent one season at Anfield in 2006/07.

The Welsh forward returned in the offseason with unfinished business and appeared to have resumed his mission in ideal fashion with his first league goal of his second spell.

The woodwork denied Liverpool in the 51st when Suarez's run left Leon Barnett baffled but the Uruguay international's shot deflected off Martin and on to the post.

And Liverpool was made to pay for it when Holt levelled. He almost doubled his tally six minutes later but this time Reina dealt with his far-post header and, as the game opened up, Ruddy was relieved to see Suarez's toe-poke roll behind after squirming through his fingers.

Suarez's 78th-minute shot was turned past the far post by Ruddy with Gerrard lurking outside the six-yard box as the hosts tried to make up for missed opportunities.

"I'm just delighted with the point," Ruddy said. "The lads were tremendous, in the second half we were a different animal."

The Liverpool defence has so far only kept clean sheets against Arsenal and Everton, both of whom had been reduced to 10 men.