Luis Suarez had a phenomenal goal record for Liverpool vs Norwich and Russell Martin recalls memories of playing against the ‘special talent’
Feb. 14, 2020
“I remember one game we were getting beaten by Liverpool and one of the lads was trying to swap shirts with [Luis] Suarez at half-time. Grant [Holt] wasn’t having any of it and he made that feeling clear to the player in question!
“I remember being frustrated by it at the time too, but sometimes you’ve got to put your hands up and appreciate just how good someone is.”
Former Norwich skipper Russell Martin knows all to well the talent Luis Suarez possesses, having gone head-to-head with the Uruguayan six times in the Premier League – and come out on the losing side each time.
The former Reds striker, now plying his trade at LaLiga giants Barcelona, had a ridiculously good record against the Canaries during his hugely successful three-year stint in the Premier League.
Incredibly, the Uruguayan scored 12 times in six outings against Norwich, as well as contributing three assists.
The enigmatic forward also notched two hat-tricks – both of which came at Carrow Road – and capped off a virtuoso performance with four goals in a 5-1 thumping victory in December 2013.
It therefore comes as no surprise Suarez never ended up on the losing side when he faced the Canaries – recording five wins and just the solitary draw.
And Martin says that Suarez, along with Sergio Aguero , is the best opponent he went toe-to-toe with during his professional career.
“He seemed to score a hat-trick in every game against us, he was just unbelievable,” the MK Dons boss told talkSPORT earlier this week.
“[Sergio] Aguero and him are by far the best I’ve come up against in terms of out-and-out strikers. He was so passionate and you can tell he just loved playing football. He was so game for everything.
“If you tried getting physical with him, he didn’t care. He was quick and he was strong. He had a great touch, great movement; he had everything in his locker.
“There were no weaknesses to his game. Everyone knew what a special talent he was. He’s a top, top player.”
SUAREZ VS NORWICH IN NUMBERS Liverpool 1-1 Norwich (October 22, 2011) – No goals or assists Norwich 0-3 Liverpool (April 28, 2012) – Hat-trick Norwich 2-5 Liverpool (September 29, 2012) – Hat-trick and one assist Liverpool 5-0 Norwich (January 19, 2013) – One goal and one assist Liverpool 5-1 Norwich (December 4, 2013) – Four goals and one assist Norwich 2-3 Liverpool (April 20, 2014) – One goal
Suarez only failed to find the net on one occasion against the Canaries, the first time he faced them in September 2011.
And Martin, who won promotion five times in his 15-year career across English football’s top four divisions, says it didn’t get any easier each time they faced the mercurial attacker.
“We played under different managers who all had different messages, but when a player like that is bang on form and scoring some outrageous goals there’s not much you can really do to stop that,” he added.
“The season they went close to winning the title [2013/2014] they had [Daniel] Sturridge and him upfront with Raheem Sterling on the counter attack. They were devastating.
“We had a team at the time, especially under Paul Lambert, where we tried to go toe-to-toe with them. “They had a team at the time where you couldn’t concentrate on one of them, as the other one would just hurt you.
“With Paul [Lambert] he told us to go out there and play our game and see where it takes us, and to be fair we got some really good results against big clubs like Arsenal and Man United.
“It was a lot more conservative under Chris [Hughton], we tried to defend first and foremost and nick one on the break with a set-piece.
“With Neil [Adams] we were trying something different again as we were battling to stay in the league.”
While Martin has been on the wrong end of a few batterings at the hands of Liverpool, he’s also felt the ultimate high when playing against the Reds.
Fast forward to September 20, 2015 and Martin was leaving Anfield on cloud nine after the most sensational 24 hours of his life.
The Norwich defender rescued a point for his side in the 1-1 draw on Merseyside, expertly hooking the ball home from 10 yards after a Simon Mignolet clanger.
However, the fact that moment was nowhere near the main highlight of the day underlines just how unique the events that unfolded that Sunday were.
Martin had travelled up to Liverpool on Saturday with the rest of Norwich’s squad but was conscious that his wife, Jasmine, was due to give birth four days later.
A late-night phone call resulted in him dashing back to East Anglia in the middle of the night to be by her side as she went into labour.
By midday he was back on a flight to Merseyside with [joint majority shareholder] Delia Smith and the rest of the directors.
Recalling the events from that day, Martin said: “I was late for the game and hadn’t had any sleep. I felt like a zombie.
“I was up in Liverpool on Saturday night, then had to drive back in the early hours of the morning after receiving a call telling me that my wife was going into labour.
“Jasmine gave birth at 9am and I had a quick cuddle with my newborn son and flew back with Delia and the rest of the directors!
“It was all pretty crazy. I remember before the game my uncle, who is a Liverpool fan, told me he fancied me to nick a goal.
“I laughed and told him there was no chance of that happening, I’d just be happy to get through the 90 minutes and for the boys to get any sort of result!
“To score at Anfield, especially in those circumstances, and with my uncle in the away end was so surreal.
“It was one of the most special days in my career without a doubt. I look forward to telling my son about it one day.”
Martin’s beloved Canaries need to find similar inspiration to drag them out of relegation trouble, with Daniel Farke’s men seven points adrift of the bottom three and seemingly destined for an immediate return to the Championship.
Next up they face the runaway leaders at Carrow Road on Saturday evening – a game that is LIVE on talkSPORT .
The last time the Canaries beat Liverpool on home soil was back in May 1993, thanks to a David Phillips penalty.
They have since failed to get the better of the Reds in the 13 subsequent games, losing 11 of those encounters.
Therefore, a win against Jurgen Klopp’s men would give Norwich a huge boost in their bid to avoid relegation – with Martin insisting their fate is not sealed yet.
“I don’t think it’s an impossible task at all. They’ve been exposed in possession a number of times this season, but they’ve shown they’ve got enough in their locker to hurt teams – like they did against Man City,” he said.
“Ultimately these are not going to be the games that keep you in the league, it’s the teams in and around them and they’ve missed out in that respect quite a bit.
“They’ve produced some good performances where they’ve warranted more points than they’ve got, but it’s a ruthless league.
“You don’t always get what you deserve because of the quality you’re up against.
“It’s not over for them yet, though. But it’s going to take a monumental effort, a real fairytale story.”
Martin knows all about those, and will be keeping his fingers crossed that Farke’s men can get their survival bid on track by ending Liverpool’s 42-game unbeaten run this weekend.
Stranger things have certainly happened over the years.
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