Chris Allen takes a closer look at Liverpool new strike team mates of Suarez and Sturridge.
Not since the days of the RAF (Ian Rush and Robbie Fowler) has Liverpool had such a formidable strike force at its disposal as it appears from the early to now have in Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez.
In this article I want to take a closer look at both players both separately and together and ask ‘are they really worth all the hype.
Luis Alberto Suárez Díaz moved from Ajax for £22.8M where he already had a massive reputation, both for his amazing football skills (81 goals in 110 games for Ajax) as well as a reputation for his bad side, most notably the hand ball in the world cup Vs Ghana and also for biting another team player for which he received a 2 match ban and an undisclosed fine.
However in January 2011 the little Uruguayan arrived on the shores of Merseyside to, as many thought, partner Fernando Torres however little did he know the Spaniard had decided to jump ship to Chelsea (I shall not dwell too much on that issue but I think its fair to say he hasn’t been missed). Suddenly a massive reliance was placed on his shoulders to lead the line alongside another new face in Andy Carroll. To be fair his goals return was not to bad given he was settle in to a new team (4 goals and 3 assists in 13 games).
His first full season with Liverpool was impressive whilst not spectacular (17 goals and 10 assists in 39 games in total), however last season was a very poor season for Liverpool in the league but Suarez did at least provide a glimpse of hope for the future and his first full season did provide his first piece of silverware with the club in the League Cup.
This season though really seems to have been set alight but Luis, something which I believe Brendan Rodgers should take a massive amount of credit. During the summer there was a lot of talk of whether Suarez would leave for better pastures but Rodgers dealt with the potential issue quickly and Suarez signed a new long term deal. He repaid the faith shown in him by the bucket load this year with a fantastic return of 26 goals and 9 assists in just 38 games this season.
It is not just his goal return which makes him a great player but the style of play. He reminds me of a child at times as he is eager to win every ball and chases absolutely everything he feels he has a chance at winning and possible a few he has no right to win at all. He learnt to play football on the streets and it really does show, I cannot recall many more players who have the ability to deflect a ball off a player an know exactly where it will land, initially people thought this was down to pure luck but after 2 years people have accepted that this is purely intentional.
He is also honest to a fault and openly admits that he will do whatever it takes to win football matches including admitting to ‘diving’ against Stoke to win a penalty.
As a football fan that is exactly what I want to see in my players, the regular chant of ‘a team of Carra’s’ will soon be over but I would like to request we change this to ‘a team of Surarez’
Daniel Andre Sturridge spent 4 years at Chelsea where he played 96 games and scored 24 goals (he also had a loan spell at Bolton where he scored 8 goals in 12 games in 2011) however he was deemed as surplus to requirements in January where he was snapped up by the Rodgers revolution. Rodgers had also worked with him in his time at Chelsea and was aware of the potential. Many have viewed this a last chance for Sturridge to prove himself at a big club. He started his career at Anfield with a real bang scoring 3 in 3 including a goal against Man Utd. He immediately endeared himself to the Anfield faithful (his current goal scoring record is 5 goals in 7 games and 2 assists)
The ‘Partnership made in heaven’
In many ways the arrival of Sturridge could have derailed the progress of Suarez after the mention that Sturridge was to be played down the middle of a front three, a role Suarez had made his own during the season. Would the fiery Uruguayan be happy to move position to incorporate a team member or would he fell offended? I think it is safe to say Suarez and Sturridge have proved all the doubters wrong as there are certainly no early signs of anything other than harmony between them on the pitch. Indeed the arrival of Sturridge has allowed Suarez to chase even more of the ball now as before he would be asked to lead the line whereas now with Sturridge up front holding the line Suarez can come much deeper to chase and hound for the ball knowing that he can look up and look for Sturridge. Also whereas earlier in the season Suarez would have to spend a lot of the time trying to find those small pieces of space or work a piece of brilliance to get a clear sight of goal Sturridge is now making those runs to create space and feed off each other.
There is no doubt in my opinion that the early signs from Sturridge and Suarez are that this could be a formidable partnership which will be up there with some of the greatest partnerships including our own RAF and the original SAS.
My closing thought on the subject is that if only we had not waited until the January window to purchase Sturridge, it was widely reported that Rodgers wanted Sturridge in the summer and indeed the potential transfer was a long way down the line but the initial view of a loan was not accepted. Given that we did eventually buy him I can not help feeling that we would be in a strong position this season if we had had him there for the first half of the season but this should not detract from the fact that we now have him in our side and hopefully our special force can fire is up the table and into Europe next year and beyond.