The Liverpool dressing room reverberated to the sound of Stevie Wonder's Signed, Sealed, Delivered after the rout of Norwich; an apt selection given the impact of one overdue transfer on Brendan Rodgers's team. Daniel Sturridge came with a guarantee of goals from Chelsea but it was his liberating effect on Luis Suárez that condemned Chris Hughton to another demoralising afternoon in Liverpool's company.
Eyebrows raised en masse when the Liverpool manager revealed leading goalscorer Suárez would be the one to vacate the centre ground following Sturridge's £12m arrival from Stamford Bridge. They were back in place, with heads nodding in approval, as the strikers dovetailed superbly at Anfield and Suárez dismantled the Norwich defence. A week that brought the first public rebuke of the Uruguay international from Rodgers, for the admission that he dived in an attempt to win a penalty against Stoke, ended in deserved tribute.
"They linked very, very well. It was a terrific performance," Rodgers said. "Luis did what he has done for us all season, gave 100% all game, and he combined really well with Daniel. There was a real fluidity to our movement at the top end of the field. Daniel gives the opponent someone else to worry about. Luis has been incredible this season but he has now got a recognised goalscorer up there alongside him." Not that Suárez, with two hat-tricks in his previous two outings against Norwich, requires much assistance in this fixture.
Hughton's team were beaten 5-2 by Liverpool at Carrow Road in September and an arduous trek towards a sixth league game without a win looked inevitable once the excellent Jordan Henderson swept the ball beyond Mark Bunn from 20 yards. Grant Holt and Jonathan Howson were never give the time, space or support in the visiting attack to suggest there was a route back against an ultimately dominant home display.
Liverpool's emphatic victory began quietly, and it was the visitors who created the first clear opening when Robert Snodgrass delivered an inviting free-kick on to the head of the unmarked Ryan Bennett. His effort was straight at Brad Jones, however, with the Australian called into the Liverpool goal after José Reina reported a thigh problem. "I thought he should have scored," Hughton said. "You never know what difference that could have made but we were well beaten by a very good side in the end. When you come to these quality clubs you have to turn up. We were nowhere near as good as we have been and could have been." The loss of Sébastien Bassong to a calf injury before the game was a mitigating factor in Norwich's weak defensive display.
A subdued contest and atmosphere was transformed by the breakthrough. It was a goal that enhanced the recent contribution of Henderson, who was unfortunate to lose his starting place to Joe Allen at Old Trafford last Sunday. Norwich appeared to have dealt with the nuisance of Suárez when Elliott Bennett slid in to relieve the striker of possession on the edge of the area but, reacting first to the loose ball, Henderson turned and drove a venomous shot past Bunn. His joyous reaction was justified.
Liverpool made the points safe nine minutes before the break when Suárez scored his seventh goal in three appearances against Norwich. It arrived courtesy of another telling contribution from Sturridge, who dummied a through ball from Lucas Leiva to leave Michael Turner on his backside and his strike partner through on goal. Norwich must have feared the worst given Suárez's record against them and with good reason as he converted a low left-foot finish into the far corner. Rodgers said: "That goal was a wonderful demonstration of how the two players can link together. It was great vision from Daniel."
The second half saw Liverpool prise open the Norwich defence at will and Sturridge record an early milestone in his Anfield career when he tapped in from close range following good work by Henderson and Stewart Downing. His finish, with Norwich appealing loudly but in vain for offside, marked the first time a Liverpool player had scored in each of his first three appearances for the club since the great Ray Kennedy way back in 1974.
Steven Gerrard then dispatched a trademark shot into the bottom corner from over 25 yards after a surging run off the left by Glen Johnson, who also released Raheem Sterling for the fifth. The Liverpool substitute flicked the ball over the hapless Turner and, though his effort beat Bunn, the final touch came from the out-stretched boot of Ryan Bennett.
Having lamented that Liverpool "are a quiet team" in the wake of defeat at Manchester United, Rodgers witnessed a rout delivered with a minimum of fuss.