Liverpool-Norwich City Preview

The Associated Press

Liverpool look to take another step closer to matching Arsenal's "Invincibles" on Saturday when they face last-place Norwich City at Carrow Road.

The champions-elect will finally win their first title in the Premier League era barring a catastrophic and unprecedented collapse as they enter this match a staggering 22 points clear of two-time champions Manchester City with 13 games remaining. The chasm is in fact so large that Liverpool (24-1-0) can clinch a Champions League spot and top-four finish with victories in their next two league contests.

Jurgen Klopp has done a good job rotating his side ahead of what will be a challenging defence of their Champions League title, also getting productive performances from his younger players as Liverpool's kiddie corps has been pivotal in getting the Merseysiders to the fifth round of the FA Cup.

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Liverpool have won 16 on the trot in league play, bearing down on City's standard of 18 set in 2017 and recorded their ninth clean sheet in 10 with their 2-0 blanking of Southampton a fortnight ago. The Reds have also won seven straight on the road since the only occasion they dropped points - a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford versus Manchester United on Oct. 20.

"We want to win the title and for winning the title, you need to win everything," said Alisson, who has yielded just two goals in his last 14 starts in all competitions, to Premier League Productions. "We are just looking for our main goal and what is behind is behind.

"We have to focus on our quality. We have an amazing group with amazing players - one goes out, the other comes in. Adrian, for example, when I got injured, he comes in and performed really, really good. An example of the other boys, Fab(inho) goes out and another one comes in and it's the same. Everybody helps a lot on the pitch. We are enjoying this time because it's good to be on the top. We work for this - to be on the top in a top level."

It will be interesting to see how Klopp does any potential squad rotation for this contest coming off a lengthy break as Liverpool resume their Champions League title defence Tuesday with their first-leg, round of 16 matchup at Atletico Madrid.

While Liverpool enjoy the view from their lofty perch atop the table, Norwich City (4-6-15) are in the valley of it, a yawning 55 points behind the leaders and seven from safety. The Canaries have just one league win in their last 12 matches (1-5-6) since the start of December, which is also one fewer FA Cup victory than they have in that span as they also have progressed to the fifth round opposite Tottenham Hotspur.

The gap to safety is already imposing enough, but the bigger problem for Daniel Farke's club is they are six back of the other two teams in the drop - West Ham United and Watford. The Canaries grabbed a point at St James' Park with a dour scoreless draw against Newcastle United, but one point is simply not going to cut it at this juncture when claiming three is so vital to their hopes of avoiding a return to the Championship.

One positive piece of business was conducted during the break as Alex Tettey will be able to extend his status as the longest-serving current player for Norwich City as he extended his contract through next season. The Norway international is in his eighth season with the club, and the midfielder has a goal and an assist in 19 league matches.

"It's massive for me," Tettey told City's official website. "It feels so good to be in Norwich and my family are happy. When my family is happy, I'm happy. I have been for many years since I've been here, so it's nothing new to me, but it's a very big and positive thing for me."

Though Norwich City have only four wins to their credit, they pulled off the shock scoreline of the Premier League season on Sept. 14 at Carrow Road, holding off Manchester City 3-2 on goals by Kenny McLean, Todd Cantwell and Teemu Pukki.

Pukki also scored in the reverse fixture between the clubs to start the season, but that was a consolation marker as Liverpool ran out easy 4-1 winners. An own goal by Grant Hanley seven minutes into the match put the Canaries on the back foot, and Liverpool were ruthless as Mohamed Salah, Virgil Van Dijk and Divock Origi all scored before intermission.

Alisson did not play the full 90 in that contest, coming off on 39 minutes after straining his calf muscle on a goal kick. Liverpool are 11-2-0 in the last 13 league meetings between the sides since Norwich City recorded a 1-0 victory at Anfield in 1994.

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