January 21, 2016

Names such as Robert Lewandowski, Alex Teixeira and Alvaro Morata are being thrown around as long-term solutions to Liverpool's attacking malaise and frailty, but any such deal seems more suited for the summer transfer window rather than the coming 10 days - much less this weekend.

That leaves the Reds again scrambling for finishing Saturday at Norwich City, where the relegation-threatened Canaries hope to avoid falling nearer to the drop zone.

The Reds (8-7-7) are missing attackers Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi, Philippe Coutinho and Danny Ings due to injuries, yet Jurgen Klopp elected to leave top scorer Christian Benteke out of the starting XI and on the bench for all but 10 minutes of Sunday's 1-0 loss to Manchester United before a disappointed Anfield crowd.

Roberto Firmino started after scoring twice in a 3-3 home draw against Arsenal on Jan. 3, but Liverpool again failed to generate any level of consistent attack. They've managed one point from their last three matches while failing to score in both losses and have five goals in their last six in the Premier League.

"We scored three the other night and we are creating chances," midfielder Jordan Henderson told the club's official website. "We just couldn't finish them off (against United) for whatever reason.

"I really believe we have a good squad of players, but games like Sunday we need to be winning. We need to be better in certain areas but we need to keep going right until the end of the season and see where we are."

Liverpool could again be feeling the beginnings of some momentum after a 3-0 win over League Two Exeter City on Wednesday in a replay of a third-round FA Cup match with a Reds side that included first-choice goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, midfielders Joe Allen and Jordon Ibe, as well as Benteke.

Klopp saw plenty of value in it, no matter the name or tier of the opponent.

"They played football, had a playing build up, they tried everything and we had a lot of work to do, especially for 10-15 minutes in the second half when we lost a little bit of control, but then we scored the goals," Klopp said. "We should do this more often and then we'd feel how goals change games."

More healthy legs could also help, and Shane Long might be the next addition with a bid reportedly in earlier in the week for the Ireland international to Southampton, who have already shown their hand by acquiring Charlie Austin from Queens Park Rangers.

Liverpool are ninth in the table on 31 points, trailing Crystal Palace on goal differential and six points back of the Red Devils for the league's last spot in Europe. Norwich (6-5-11), meanwhile, are at the moment only thinking of avoiding the Championship entering this match 16th on 23 points - two clear of 18th-place Newcastle United.

Last Saturday's 3-0 loss at Bournemouth followed a 3-1 defeat at Stoke City three days before, which followed a 3-0 FA Cup exit to Manchester City. It sounds like manager Alex Neil might be considering tinkering with a first XI he'd been confident with.

"I don't think our use of the ball was good enough and we didn't defend our box well enough," Neil told the club's official website. "It's disappointing and I'm quite surprised because that team has been relatively consistent over the last five or six games in terms of selection. They've been playing well recently, so it's difficult to put your finger on why we played so poorly today."

The Canaries have been busy this month with this week's signing of forward Steven Naismith following midfielder Matt Jarvis and defenders Ivo Pinto and Timm Klose in the door at Carrow Road.

The clubs played to a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture on Sept. 20, with Ings scoring in the 48th minute before Russell Martin equalised in the 61st. It was just the second point the Canaries have taken in the series from 11 matches dating to 1995, and Liverpool have won all five at Carrow Road.

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