A plethora of Norwich supporters just had to capture the iconic Cristiano Ronaldo celebration on Saturday night, as the five-time Ballon d’Or winner scored the only goal of the contest at Carrow Road to propel Ralf Rangnick’s side to another narrow success.
On a day where the Canaries were so often thwarted by David de Gea, Ronaldo’s 75th-minute spot kick was all that could separate the two sides, as Dean Smith’s men slumped to a fourth game without a win in the top flight.
The former Villa boss oversaw an immediate upturn in fortunes following his appointment, but back-to-back defeats have seen Norwich plummet to the bottom of the rankings once again, with just 10 points to their name from a possible 48.
The Canaries’ misfiring attack have only managed to find the back of the net once in their last four Premier League games, and they are the only side in the top flight yet to hit double figures in terms of goals, notching up a mere eight all season.
A tally of 32 goals conceded is unsurprisingly also the worst record in the division, but only 12 of those strikes have been scored against them at Carrow Road, and Smith needs no extra motivation to get one over his old employers.
Aston Villa held their own for much of Steven Gerrard’s reunion at Anfield, as a normally free-scoring Liverpool outfit could not find a way past a dogged Villa defence, marshalled by the inspired Emiliano Martinez.
However, Tyrone Mings handed Mohamed Salah the opportunity to keep his remarkable run going from the penalty spot, and despite some mind games from Martinez, the Egyptian attacker slotted home to break the Lions’ resilience.
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Take nothing away from Villa’s performances since Gerrard took over, as even Manchester City struggled to get over the line in the West Midlands, but a second defeat from three matches means that the Lions now sit 13th in the rankings after Sunday’s games.
With six defeats from their eight away matches in the 2021-22 Premier League, Villa do not exactly have an affinity for playing on rival turf, but the visiting crop will certainly expect to return to winning ways against the basement boys.
Villa thrashed Norwich 5-1 at Carrow Road in the 2019-20 season before claiming a low-key 1-0 win at their headquarters later that term, but the Canaries did embark on a four-game home winning streak against the Lions before that top-flight encounter