Hughton: Norwich must not focus on Suarez threat

Manager Chris Hughton accepts Liverpool frontman Luis Suarez could well put Norwich "to the sword" once more on Wednesday night - but has challenged his defence to raise their own game at Anfield.

The first goal of the game...

The Canaries head to Merseyside bouyed by the 1-0 home win over Crystal Palace, which lifted them up to 14th place following a second victory in three Barclays Premier League matches.

However, Norwich will need a much-improved display than when they were thumped 5-0 in January and Hughton is hoping for an 'off day' from Uruguay forward Suarez, who has scored seven goals in his last three games against the Canaries - including helping himself to two hat-tricks from successive visits to Carrow Road.

"It is not only us. It seems like Suarez is putting everyone to the sword at the moment because he is a super player," Hughton said.

"You have to have be on your game because he is as good as there is and we are talking about one of the top strikers in the country.

"When he is on his day, Suarez is very difficult to handle.

"You just have to be very much on top of your own game and hope he doesn't have one of his better ones."

Liverpool certainly did not enjoy a memorable performance on Sunday when they were beaten 3-1 at Hull.

With injured top scorer Daniel Sturridge set for a spell on the sidelines, manager Brendan Rodgers will be seeking a response from nine-goal Suarez and the rest of his squad if they are not to slip further behind the leaders.

Depsite their battling win over Palace, Norwich remain in need of the points at the other end of the table.

Summer signing Gary Hooper scored what proved to be the winner, albeit after a somewhat nervy second half against the Eagles, now under new manager Tony Pulis.

Hughton feels the former Celtic frontman has shown his £5million switch back south was justified as Hooper continues to lead the attack without record signing Ricky van Wolfswinkel, who has a toe injury.

"Gary came here to prove he could score goals in the Premier League," said Hughton of the former Southend and Scunthorpe forward.

"I felt for him at the beginning because some strikers hit the ground running and it comes naturally and others take a while to adjust and you can see that across the league, but to miss the first four weeks (because of injury) when you join a new club is so difficult.

"I have been impressed by his work outside the box. He has what I regard as classic centre-forward movement.

"When you get the ball into good positions you can tell he is someone used to playing up top and scoring goals.

"I read one of Gary's quotes after the game when he said at Premier League level you get less chances and, no disrespect to Celtic, but in that league he would be used to getting numerous chances.

"It is tougher here and you have to try and make sure your percentages are higher.

"He is now in the team and having a run of games and getting fit and stronger.

"We need to make sure that we provide him with opportunities to score goals like we did on Saturday."

If Norwich are to steer clear of being embroiled in a season-long battle for survival, then away form must improve, with 17 defeats from the 25 Premier League matches since Hughton took charge.

"We want to make amends because, apart from a very good performance at Stoke, we have been disappointing away from home," said Hughton, whose side were thumped 7-0 at Manchester City last month.

"This is a game which arguably they do not come much tougher than, but it is another challenge for us.

"Our away from needs to improve, and there is no better opportunity than the next opportunity."



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