• Raheem Sterling 'best youngster in Europe', says manager
• Neil Adams delighted with Norwich comeback in 3-2 loss
Brendan Rodgers has revealed that the long-time Hillsborough campaigner Margaret Aspinall inspired Liverpool to a 3-2 victory over Norwich, one which puts them five points clear at the top of the Premier League and, with three games to play, on course for a first league title in 24 years.
Liverpool had to show late resilience to overcome Neil Adams' side as Norwich responded to going 2-0 down inside 11 minutes with a gutsy display after the interval. The home side scored through Gary Hooper and Robert Snodgrass but could not find an equaliser, leaving Liverpool to record an 11th successive victory.
The title is now within sight for Rodgers and his men, with this result the perfect reaction to Chelsea's 2-1 home defeat to Sunderland on Saturday. The top two meet at Anfield on Sunday with Liverpool knowing a draw is likely to be all they require to finish the season on top.
A first domestic championship since 1990 would come at a poignant time given this year is the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough tragedy and having attended a memorial service on Tuesday for the 96 supporters who died in the disaster, Rodgers felt it appropriate to quote Aspinall as a means of focusing his players on the task ahead. Aspinall's 18-year-old son, James, was one of the victims and she spoke at the service in her capacity as chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group.
"We had the memorial service this week and that was really touching," Rodgers said. "So I decided to use words of Margaret Aspinall. We put them up on the wall.
"She talked about stress and how it can prove difficult for you but can also offer great determination to fight. Those were the words that we gave the players before the game. This is really one club at this moment and we will all fight to achieve the ultimate goal."
That goal is the title and momentum is well and truly with Liverpool. Rodgers continues to keep a level head, even going as far after this match to speak about his delight that Liverpool can now finish no lower than third and, therefore, are guaranteed Champions League football next season.
The manager was full of praise for another eye-catching attacking display by his side and the fact they have scored 96 goals this season.
He was particularly delighted by the performance of Raheem Sterling, who scored Liverpool's opening goal after four minutes, set up Luis Suárez for the second soon afterwards and got their crucial third just after the hour mark.
"I think he is arguably the best young player in Europe," Rodgers said. "I have been really pleased with his maturity, he puts an awful lot of time into his work. We have tried to put him in different positions to improve his football intelligence and you can see he has got that in-built brain and belief that he can be a top player.
"All my players are giving me everything. It's 11 wins on the spin, which is an incredible achievement. I can't ask for more. Now it is about recovery. It is going to be a brilliant game next weekend with Chelsea coming to Anfield. The supporters will be right up for it, as will the players."
Asked about José Mourinho's bitterly sarcastic reaction to seeing his side lose to Sunderland, and record a first home league defeat under the Portuguese in 78 games across two spells, Rodgers said of his one-time mentor: "He will go again. He's a world-class manager and I'm sure he's looking forward to the game next week. For us, we are only focusing on ourselves."
For Norwich this was a fourth defeat in a row and their hopes of surviving the drop look bleak given they sit just two points above the relegation zone with games against Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal to come.
"We had to shake them up at half-time and I was delighted with the second-half performance," said Adams after his second game in charge of the side following the sacking of Chris Hughton. "The performances since I've been here have been first-class and there is no doubt that the belief is there that we can stay in this division."