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As high as Liverpool’s morale was on Wednesday night, a raft of enforced changes from their gruelling 120-minute EFL Cup final showdown with Chelsea may have led to a slight sense of hope from the travelling Norwich fans that an FA Cup upset was on the cards.
However, Jurgen Klopp‘s second-string XI ensured that the German would take charge of an FA Cup quarter-final for the first time in his Anfield career, as Takumi Minamino bagged a brace for himself in the first half before Lukas Rupp‘s thunderbolt of a consolation.
The Canaries were certainly never expected to go all the way in the FA Cup, and Dean Smith can at least now focus all his efforts on the impending battle for survival, with Norwich rock bottom of the rankings with 17 points after 26 games.
Norwich also sit five points adrift of safety and have played two more games than 17th-placed Everton, so it is certainly a pessimistic outlook for the Premier League’s basement side, but 18th-placed Burnley and 19th-placed Watford face challenging fixtures with Chelsea and Arsenal respectively.
Smith’s side can therefore count the visit of Brentford as a prime opportunity to put some pressure on their relegation rivals and potentially climb up to 19th, but they have lost their last four on the bounce in all competitions and are the only team in the top flight yet to hit the 10-goal mark on home soil.
Norwich attacker Przemyslaw Placheta suffered a heavy fall behind the advertising boards at Anfield and could miss out here, but captain Grant Hanley will return from suspension to displace Christoph Zimmermann.
Max Aarons and Brandon Williams should be back after missing the FA Cup defeat with knocks, and it remains to be seen if Ozan Kabak will recover from his shoulder problem in time, but Andrew Omobamidele and Adam Idah are definitely out.
Joshua Sargent is set to return to the attacking line in place of the stricken Placheta, while Angus Gunn should displace Tim Krul in goal and Kenny McLean will eye a start over Rupp – who was taken off seconds after scoring a peach of a strike against Liverpool.
As for Brentford, Dasilva will serve the first of a three-game ban following his early sending off last weekend, which ought to allow Frank Onyeka to return to the engine room or Sergi Canos to come in on the right.
Tarique Fosu and Julian Jeanvier remain absent for the long-term, and Frank may still be hesitant to throw Eriksen in from the first whistle, even though the playmaker came through 40 minutes unscathed against Newcastle.
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However, Ivan Toney ought to return to the first XI after recovering from a minor issue of his own, with Yoane Wissa expected to take his place on the bench at Carrow Road.
Norwich City possible starting lineup:
Gunn; Aarons, Hanley, Gibson, Williams; McLean, Normann, Gilmour; Sargent, Pukki, Rashica
Brentford possible starting lineup:
Raya; Ajer, Jansson, Pinnock, Henry; Canos, Norgaard, Onyeka, Janelt; Toney, Mbeumo