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Norwich 2 Liverpool 3: Sterling at the double leaves a trio for the title

ONE down, three to go.

30th OF THE SEASON: Luis Suarez celebrates scoring Liverpool's second goal with team-mates Raheem Sterling and Phillipe Coutinho. Picture: Kieran Galvin/EPA
30th OF THE SEASON: Luis Suarez celebrates scoring Liverpool's second goal with team-mates Raheem Sterling and Phillipe Coutinho. Picture: Kieran Galvin/EPA

Liverpool are just a hat trick of victories away from securing their first title for 24 years.

Brendan Rodgers, the manager at Anfield, revealed his side had used the words of Margaret Aspinall, chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, as inspiration to go out and defeat relegation-battlers Norwich City 3-2 at Carrow Road and move five points clear at the top of the Barclays Premier League.

Raheem Sterling scored twice and Luis Suarez broke the 30-goal barrier as the visitors edge closer to glory.

Liverpool showed their intent to make the most of Chelsea's shock home defeat by Sunderland on Saturday, and romped 2-0 ahead inside 10 minutes as the relegation-threatened hosts were under the cosh by a superb 25-yard effort from Sterling, before Suarez tucked home from close range.

However, Norwich - two points above the drop zone - rallied after Gary Hooper reduced the deficit following a poor punch by Simon Mignolet, only for Sterling to slot home a deflected third on the break.

Robert Snodgrass set up a tense finale with his far-post header with 13 minutes left, but Liverpool secured what looks to be a priceless victory ahead of next weekend's match with Chelsea at Anfield.

Rodgers delivered an emotional address at the service which commemorated 25 years since the Hillsborough disaster, when 96 Liverpool supporters lost their lives at the FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest. He again looked for inspiration out of loss for club and city.

"We were at the memorial service this week, there was hope for the families there as well," said Rodgers. "I used some words of Margaret Aspinall, we put them up on the wall [in the dressing room], she talked about stress and how it can prove difficult for you, but it can also offer you great determination to fight, and that is what we gave the players today.

"This is all one club at this moment in time and we are all fighting to achieve the ultimate goal."

Rodgers added: "Liverpool is an incredible club. To see that [from the fans] is like bringing you back in time, the welcome we got in our last game. The supporters have been given hope, really. They are proud of us, to watch the team attack and play with the verve they are; they put banners hanging over the training ground, there is a lot of nostalgia there for the supporters because they are proud of their team. This is a real iconic football club and we are trying to set the team up to attack."

Rodgers, who maintains his squad had not looked to take any extra incentive from Chelsea's defeat, praised the way his side took an early stranglehold at Carrow Road.

"We showed great quality and were nerveless in our possession and control, but credit to Norwich because they changed their shape for the second half and got the goal which gave the crowd a lift," the Northern Irishman said.

"It was always going to be tough after that, but we showed everything again, the quality of our movement and play was exceptional. We had to show character, resilience and determination, which we did in bundles.

"It was a big victory and congratulations to the players because we can finish no lower than third, which guarantees Champions League football, and at the start of the season everyone thought it would be a struggle for us to get to fourth, so it shows the magnitude of the effort the players have put in.

"We have cemented the first objective, which was cementing Champions League qualification. Now we will look forward to next weekend, which will be a great atmosphere at Anfield."

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