LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Luis Suarez put aside the latest controversial episode in his checkered Liverpool career by doing what he does best, scoring in the team's 5-0 thrashing of Norwich in the English Premier League on Saturday.
The Uruguay striker made more headlines for the wrong reasons this week by admitting he dived in a match against Stoke at the start of the season, earning a rebuke from manager Brendan Rodgers. However, he remains invaluable on the pitch for Liverpool and after helping set up Jordan Henderson for a well-taken opener in 26th minute at Anfield, Suarez grabbed his 16th goal of the campaign 10 minutes later.
Daniel Sturridge — with his third goal in three games following his move from Chelsea — Steven Gerrard and Ryan Bennett's own goal completed the rout in the second half, with the Suarez-Sturridge strike partnership making encouraging early steps.
"They linked very well, obviously both got on the scoresheet, which was great," Rodgers said. "Luis has done what he has done for us all season, given us 100 percent every game, and he combined well with Daniel up front.
"I think it gives the opponent someone else to worry about. Suarez has been incredible for us but you now have a recognized goalscorer up beside him." Norwich has been a compliant opponent for Liverpool — conceding 13 goals in their last three meetings — and this latest win lifted the hosts provisionally to within three points of fifth-place Everton, which occupies the final European spot for next season.
Suarez has particularly enjoyed playing the Canaries, with his goal taking his tally to seven in three matches against the club. He is one behind Manchester United striker Robin van Persie in the Premier League's scoring charts.
Liverpool's recent resurgence was stopped in its tracks by United in a 2-1 loss at Old Trafford last weekend but Rodgers' side rebounded well. After Suarez wriggled past a couple of defenders, the ball broke to Henderson, who finished powerfully from just outside the area.
Sturridge then provided a clever dummy to allow Lucas' pass from midfield to run behind the Norwich defense and Suarez pounced, slotting a left-footed shot into the bottom corner. Two goals behind at halftime and being completely outclassed, the second half was a damage limitation exercise for Norwich but the visitors fell further behind when Downing crossed for Sturridge to tap in at the far post in the 59th.
"Daniel has pace and power but he is also clever and that was important today," Rodgers said. Gerrard slammed a 25-yard effort into the bottom corner for 4-0 and Bennett deflected in substitute Raheem Sterling's shot to wrap up a convincing win.
"We were beaten by a very good side who were very clinical in everything they did," Norwich manager Chris Hughton said.