…and relax. A wild, intense second-half, from which we learned two things: 1) Norwich could still get the points they need for probable safety, even with their ludicrous fixture list; 2) Liverpool need serious squad-strengthening sharpish. Allen came in and did well, Lucas was less impressive, and Moses didn't contribute much once he came off the bench. This isn't news, but it is a worry – there are still three results to claim, two of them without Henderson. Eleven wins on the spin suggests an unstoppable force; successive desperate stoppage-time narrow-victory-protecting rearguard actions do not.
Anyway, it's been a blast. I'll be back later for Everton v Manchester United. Bye!
That second half must have been torture for Liverpool fans. The sight of this won't be:
Final score: Norwich 2-3 Liverpool
90+5 mins: It's over! An impressive performance from Norwich, a brilliant result for Liverpool.
90+4 mins: It's cleared, but there's no stroke-it-into-the-empty-net breakaway. Norwich pump the ball forward again, and that's cleared too!
90+4 mins: Sterling and Lucas combine to concede a free-kick, and Ruddy runs up for it!
90+3 mins: Double miss from Liverpool! Moses passes to Suárez, exploiting the inevitable gaps in Norwich's back-line now most of their defenders are actually attacking. He squares to Lucas, whose first effort is saved and whose follow-up flies wide.
90+1 mins: We're going to have four minutes of stoppage time, and they start with an optimistic long-range effort from Suárez that flies well wide, and continue with Sakho falling over straight into Snodgrass's legs, and bizarrely not conceding a free-kick.
90 mins: Johnson pumps a percentage ball down the line, and it's headed out for a throw-in. This is what Liverpool have come to.
88 mins: This has been an excellent, in-yer-face second-half display from Norwich, and Liverpool haven't liked it one bit. They have, though, started to fall over the inevitable whole-hearted challenges that come their way, and are winning free-kicks as a result.
87 mins: Liverpool have a free-kick on the half-way line, and are extremely grateful for it.
85 mins: Crikey, but this is tense.
83 mins: Redmond skips past Johnson and plays in Murphy, whose driven cross is cleared. From the throw-in Redmond swings in another cross, and Van Wolfswinkel – surely offside, but not given – heads low towards the corner, and Mignolet saves. Liverpool hearts in mouths. "Fer’s challenge on Suarez was a clear straight red card for me," roars Andrew Parry in Bangkok. "His studs were up and it was dangerous. How Suárez reacted to it is irrelevant." It was irrelevant, but funny.
81 mins: Whittaker lifts the ball into the box. Norwich are continually testing Mignolet's confidence now.
80 mins: Norwich have brought on Van Wolfswinkel for Hooper, and now Liverpool bring on Agger and take off Allen.
79 mins: Now Flanagan is booked for giving Snodgrass a very gentle nudge, which the Norwich player made a big deal of.
GOAL! Norwich 2-3 Liverpool (Snodgrass, 77 mins)
A long ball down the left is worked to Redmond, whose cross is headed by Snodgrass, and the ball loops in at the back stick. A slightly scruffy goal, and the contest is back on!
77 mins: Lucas finds Sterling in all sorts of space on the right, but for all that his cut-back is poor and the ball is cleared.
76 mins: The first substitution of the match sees Victor Moses replace Coutinho.
75 mins: Liverpool try to play their way out of defence again, and it leads to Lucas conceding a dangerous free-kick. Nothing comes of it.
72 mins: Howson is booked for a foul on Sterling. "I was sweating until Liverpool's third went in," notes, well, someone who doesn't sign their emails. "Actually I still am, in Bali and it's 30 degrees here."
71 mins: Norwich win another corner, headed just over by Martin.
It wasn't a great challenge, but Suárez's recovery was still comical. Here, you decide:
68 mins: The corner brings another great header from Johnson, but this one is deflected wide. The next corner is headed clear by Sakho.
67 mins: Coutinho plays the ball to Suárez, but the attempted first-time return ball is overhit. Down the other end, Snodgrass forces a save with a 23-yard low, bouncing shot.
65 mins: Skrtel gets booked, for shoving Redmond as the two chased the ball down Norwich's left flank.
63 mins: Suárez perhaps gets a little kick from Fer, and goes down rolling about and clutching his ankle. Then the ball rolls in his direction, and he springs up and hares off towards goal. It comes to nothing, except that is a fair amount of vicious criticism from the stands.
GOAL! Norwich 1-3 Liverpool (Sterling, 62 mins)
Sterling cuts out Johnson's pass in his own half, runs down the right, cuts inside and finally shoots from 15 yards. Johnson, having raced back to put in a last-ditch challenge, sees the ball deflect off him and loop over Ruddy and into the net.
60 mins: Mignolet will get criticised for the goal, but a) Johnson's challenge, and the commitment he showed in making it, was excellent; b) the ball deflected to Hooper off the back of Skrtel's head, which was a bit unfortunate; and c) he can hardly be blamed for the incoherence elsewhere in Liverpool's team after that wonderful opening.
59 mins: Chance for Liverpool! Johnson pulls the ball back to Suárez, lurking at the edge of the area, and he beats two defenders in checking back onto his right foot and then sends a shot six inches wide of goal.
56 mins: Liverpool attack, Suárez jinking into the area and shooting low but not very hard, and Ruddy saves with Sterling hovering menacingly.
56 mins: Liverpool are rocking now. Whittaker's low, diagonal cross from the right provokes a fair amount of panic, and a clearance.
GOAL! Norwich 1-2 Liverpool (Hooper, 54 mins)
Norwich swing in the ball from the right. Mignolet comes out to fist clear but is outjumped by Johnson, and the ball rolls to Hooper, in front of an empty net.
53 mins: Skrtel engages in his routine matchly shirt-tugging, with Turner the victim. As usual, he gets away with it. I wonder how many penalties Liverpool might have conceded this season if Skrtel had his own referee. Incidentally, I forgot to say, in response to Gary Naylor, that in the last 25 years or so I think only Keegan's Newcastle at their peak have approached the attacking standards set by this Liverpool side, but they only ever did it for the wrong half of a season.
51 mins: A lovely cross from Fer on the right brings another Norwich corner. Johnson heads clear.
49 mins: Suárez picks out Coutinho with a crossfield wonderpass. The ball is played back to Sterling, on the 18-yard line, but his left-foot, first-time shot floats high.
48 mins: Norwich again steal the ball from Liverpool as they attempt to play their way out of defence, and end up with a corner. Mignolet catches it.
46 mins: Liverpool get the second half under way, and immediately concede possession.
The players are back on the pitch. After the first half, Liverpool are now 7-1 on for the Premier League title with Ladbrokes (and others), who make Manchester City 5-1 second-favourites and Chelsea 28-1 outsiders.
If words and, possibly, moving pictures are simply not enough ways to follow this match, may I offer you some still pictures? Here's a gallery.
Half time: Norwich 0-2 Liverpool
45+3 mins: Peeeeeep! A shrill blast of the referee's whistle brings an end to a half which was 66.6666666% engrossing and competitive, and 33.3333333% embarrassingly one-sided.
45+1 mins: We've launched into the first of two minutes of stoppage time.
45 mins: Another booking for Norwich, with Turner taking out a mid-flow Sterling just outside the centre circle. To be fair to Turner, though he was definitely attempting to tackle him, I'm not convinced he had any idea where Sterling was at the time.
44 mins: "Re Flanagan and Allen songs, as a Liverpool fan, I hope it’s going to be a case of Strollin and Roll on Tomorrow, and definitely NOT Yesterday’s Dreams," notes Andrew Parry, as Liverpool again just about escape from their defence with a series of heart-in-mouth passes, zip down the other end and find Coutinho, who curls a shot just wide.
42 mins: Suárez tries to play in Allen, but the pass is a little too strong and the midfielder can do little more than win a corner. Which he does. Sakho heads it wide.
39 mins: Redmond has now switched to the right, giving Flanagan some stressful moments and leaving Olsson to swing in the crosses from the left.
37 mins: We've now had 25 minutes of fast-paced, entertaining and closely-contested football. If you can manage to put to one side the period that Liverpool massively dominated and in which they scored twice, this is a finely-balanced and intriguing match.
33 mins: Now Redmond has an excellent long-range shot saved by Mignolet, the ball pushed back into danger but falling to a defender.
32 mins: Now Norwich do steal the ball, from Sakho, as Liverpool mess about with it in dangerous positions. Moments later it took an excellent Skrtel interception to deny Hooper a tap-in. Come on Liverpool, you can't score from row Z you know.
29 mins: Snodgrass is booked for a nasty late lunge on Allen. It didn't quite deserve a red, but it was as close as you can get. A yellow and a half.
28 mins: Another free-kick from the left for Norwich comes to nothing. They're focusing their attacking down that side, clearly seeing Redmond v Johnson as a battle their man can win.
26 mins: Joe Allen, who is doing a passable impression of the complete midfielder in these early moments, sees a 25-yarder dip just wide of goal.
26 mins: Liverpool have barely mounted an attack since the second goal. Of course they don't really need to, but they really should give it a go – they're quite good at it.
23 mins: Liverpool play the ball out of defence, as Norwich hare about gamely trying to close them down. "And to think that Rodgers never did anything at Reading," notes Simon Pearce. A case of the right piece in the wrong jigsaw puzzle, I think. He was impressive at Watford, even if he didn't win many friends with the manner of his departure, and we all know about Swansea and Anfield.
21 mins: Don't get too excited, Norwich fans. Liverpool clear.
20 mins: Norwich are definitely having a spell here. They've now won another free-kick on the left. Redmond will take.
19 mins: Liverpool are good, but they're not perfect. Mignolet messes about with the ball at his feet and plays Sakho into trouble, and for a moment Norwich flood forward. Then Joe Allen pops up again, steals the ball and gets himself fouled.
17 mins: Chance for Norwich! A free-kick from the left is cleared to the other flank but re-centred. Turned heads down to Hooper, who checks inside, cleverly making space, only for Allen to arrive and get in his way – twice!
16 mins: Norwich win a corner, and provoke a little bit of panic in the Liverpool defence if not, in the end, a chance. "If Liverpool win the title," notes Tony Cowards, "Brendan Rogers will become the first manager to win the Premier League title without first winning a national title with another club. Fergie - Aberdeen; Dalglish - Liverpool (pre-Prem); Wenger - Monaco; Mourinho - Porto; Ancelotti - AC Milan; Mancini - Inter"
12 mins: Norwich mount an attack, which ends with an over-driven cross from the left. Liverpool looked brilliant in the first half against Manchester City; against Norwich they look just incredible.
GOAL! Norwich 0-2 Liverpool! (Suárez, 11 mins)
Amazing! Flanagan's pass to Sterling, running down the left wing, is good, but Sterling's pass across goal is magnificent, and the finish is splendidly assured.
9 mins: Chance for Liverpool! Allen it is, making a run from deep and picked out with a pass by, I think, Coutinho, but his first touch, neat enough, carries him a little wide and Ruddy saves the shot.
9 mins: A half-chance for Norwich. Perhaps a quarter-chance. Hooper got his head to the ball deep in the penalty area, that's for certain. It flew out of play.
7 mins: With the ball bobbling around the Norwich penalty area, Sterling senses an opportunity to poke it with his toe and then fall over a defender's leg. He gets the ball, Fer provides him with the leg, but the referee is unimpressed.
6 mins: "We're going to win the league!" scream the Liverpool fans. Their side has scored a first-half goal in each of their last 25 games, we're told. Crikey.
GOAL! Norwich 0-1 Liverpool (Sterling, 4 mins)
Liverpool take the lead! From nowhere! The ball is shuffled from the left wing into the centre, where Sterling cuts onto his right foot and slams in a shot which takes the slightest deflection off Turner's butt-cheeks and flies in at the near post!
3 mins: A short delay while Olsson has treatment to a sore knee.
Possibly, though you'd have thought the comparatively enormous number of incredibly amazing players in the Manchester City and Chelsea squads in particular would have been a considerably bigger one.
1 min: Norwich earn an immediate throw-in deep into Liverpool territory, but the league leaders play the ball out nicely, and Allen wins a free-kick on the halfway line.
1 min: Norwich do the honours in the centre circle, and the game has begun!
The players are out and busily shaking hands. This is about to happen. Deep breath everyone.
Brendcan Rodgers spoke earlier this week of Jordan Henderson's continued importance to his side, despite his three-match suspension:
Even though we’ll lose him on the field we can’t lose his personality off the field as well which is why he’ll still travel and be a part of what we’re doing. Jordan will still travel with the team. I’ve told him he’s a vital member of the group and he might not be able to effect the next three games on the field but he’s going to be very important for our changing room, our travelling and our hotels because he’s very much a part of us.
Anyway, here he is today, all kitted up and sitting on the bench, suspension be damned.
"Good to see Flanagan and Allen next to each other in the team sheet," notes Martin Treacy. "Looking through a list of their songs, and hoping we don’t fall victim to the slips Chelsea and City have had, 'Don’t walk in the shadows' seems rather appropriate. If all goes well this afternoon, 'we’ll smile again' would fit!"
Brendan Rodgers has now also had a chat with Sky. Here are some highlights:
On everyone else slipping up: "There's always warning signs. It's a very difficult league to get results in. We're fully concentrating on the job today."
On today's tactics: "I think in terms of our midfield it's fairly similar. We've got Lucas coming in on the right of a diamond, and Joe on the left, so that's no problem. Those two are fine. We're looking at trying to get five bodies in there, with Coutinho coming inside. He's tactically very good, and hopefully that allows us that numerical advantage on the inside."
On Liverpool's opponents: "We respect Norwich, and obviously Chris Hughton did an incredible job and was very unfortunate to lose his job here. We'll respect them knowing it's going to be a difficult game. For us it's just a continuation of the run we've been on. We'll continue to attack, obviously with balance in our game defensively, and we'll take the game to our opponents."
Neil Adams has been chatting to Sky. He's a pretty rapid talker, it must be said, so I didn't get every word, but here are the bits I did get:
On Norwich's relegation-haunted predicament: "We've got to win points. We've got to sort ourselves out. I don't think you can rely on other people. If you do, it's a dangerous game. We've got to make sure we're at it first and foremost."
On Liverpool: "They've had a fantastic season. Probably nobody expected them to win the league until recently, but it now brings its own pressure. Obviously they've got to deal with that. We've looked at their team in depth. We'll be organised, we'll be ready for it. We've seen one or two things that we've worked on all week. We hope what we've worked on we can go out and put it into practice."
On Gary Hooper: "I brought him in just to mix it up. I thought we played well last week. We've just got to take some of the chances we create. We just felt maybe the one change there might just give us the advantage and hopefully if we make the chances we'll take them."
He may have said that Hooper has been picked "just to mix it up" but his reasoning suggests a lack of confidence in Van Wolfswinkel. That might harm a striker who, what with the eight months he's endured since his last goal, had probably already lost the confidence of everybody else, almost certainly including himself.
Who buys these one-match-only scarves? Their existence, outside perhaps the occasional showpiece final, makes no sense to me whatsoever.
Daniel Sturridge is out with a hamstring injury and Jordan Henderson is suspended, so Joe Allen and Lucas Leiva come in for Liverpool. Norwich bring in Gary Hooper, with Ricky van Wolfswinkel on the bench and Sebastien Bassong cold-shouldered by Neil Adams.
Norwich: Ruddy, Whittaker, Martin, Turner, Olsson, Snodgrass, Howson, Johnson, Redmond, Fer, Hooper. Subs: Van Wolfswinkel, Bunn, Gutierrez, Garrido, Ryan Bennett, Tettey, Murphy.
Liverpool: Mignolet, Johnson, Skrtel, Sakho, Flanagan, Allen, Gerrard, Lucas, Sterling, Suarez, Coutinho. Subs: Brad Jones, Toure, Agger, Alberto, Aspas, Moses, Cissokho.
Referee: Andre Marriner
Morning. There are things that make sense, that look as they should be. Blossom on the apple tree in spring. A hawk tearing a rabbit to pieces and calling it lunch. Rain falling on London. These things might not always be a pleasure to watch, but they are somehow right. Other things, well, they just look weird. Unnatural. Stuff, for example, like this:
A sheep with five legs
A turtle with two heads
A lion who loves a gazelle
This morning's Premier League table
Will the laws that usually govern things find a way to stamp out this surely temporary spell of insanity? Time alone will tell. And the next couple of hours may well, in the final analysis, prove fairly important in the telling. Welcome. Let's enjoy them together.