Joe Allen was in no doubt about the fundamental key to Liverpool's battling 3-2 victory over Norwich City on Sunday – the Welshman attributed the result to the Reds' 'incredible will to win'.

In the opening period at Carrow Road, Brendan Rodgers' team were at their effervescent best, pulling apart the Canaries and penetrating through strikes by Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez.

Following the break, however, an altogether different performance was needed: challenges at full stretch, blocks from all angles and determination to prevent the hosts from derailing the visitors.

And although both Gary Hooper and Robert Snodgrass did manage to breach the Liverpool defence, a magnificent second by Sterling - with the help of a deflection - brought an 11th straight triumph.

"It felt great at the end - it was tough at times in the second half," Allen told afterwards. "Credit to Norwich, they pushed us until the very end but it's three more points.

"You try to keep your composure as much as you can, but mentally that was very tough. But I think it showed the character, strength and personality we've got, to make sure we held onto those three points.

"Of course we'd like to see out games a bit more comfortably than that, but our will to win at the moment is incredible and we have kept that run going."

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The Reds lined up for the lunchtime kick-off in East Anglia having watched Sunderland take points from rivals Chelsea and Manchester City during the preceding days.

But did those positive results from a Liverpool point of view add any pressure to Rodgers' charges as they sought to gain a five-point advantage at the summit of the standings?

"No, they didn't," the midfielder said. "Naturally, it can affect you, of course, but we try to keep our focus completely on our performance - coming out here and making sure we got the desired result.

"It was tough at times, but to go two goals up so early away from home gave us a great platform to go on and do that."

Allen was brought into the starting XI by Rodgers, alongside Lucas Leiva in midfield, with Jordan Henderson and Daniel Sturridge ruled out through suspension and injury respectively.

The No.24 added: "It was great to start a game. Jordan has been incredible all season, he's been a machine.

"But the beauty of this squad is that we've got great players that can come in and the team performance doesn't suffer. It was great to have an opportunity to start the game and be part of a winning performance."