Daniel Sturridge claims that Liverpool’s impressive start to the season is not just about his partnership with Luis Suarez.
“It’s been an amazing start for us. It’s great to play with Luis. We give defenders problems and we’re both different. It’s good to have a strike partner you can bounce off,” Sturridge said.
Sturridge began the season without the services of Suarez, who remained on suspension from last year’s bite on Branislav Ivanovic. During that time, Sturridge thrived in the solo striker role, scoring four goals in five league games.
When Suarez returned to the Premier League on September 29th, some feared that the egos of the two players could clash rather than gel. But that worry was quickly dismissed as the two linked up on all three goals in the 3-1 victory at Sunderland. From then on, the Sturridge and Suarez partnership (known affectionately as ‘SAS’) has thrived.
The pair play as a front two, with Sturridge typically higher up the pitch and Suarez dropping in to create. Their partnership is unique in the sense that they rarely play close together yet are still able to find each other on opposite sides of the pitch. It’s this kind of ESP that has many wondering whether its friendship or competitiveness that keeps them playing at such a high level.
“We get on well and that’s the most important thing,” Sturridge explained. “:There is no rivalry there, no hidden agendas. We both go out and work hard to help the team. It’s not about the SAS strike-force, it’s about the team.”
While Sturridge takes the politically correct route of deflecting the attention, there’s no denying that the pair have scored 14 of Liverpool’s 17 league goals this season. Despite SAS’ intricate link-ups and perceived friendship, however, both remain fiercely competitive, as was evident in Sunday’s loss to Arsenal when, late in the game, Suarez chose to shoot rather than pass to Sturridge, provoking a furious outburst from the Englishman.
It was an isolated incident that should not be overblown given the natural frustrations of the game but one that is nevertheless worth noting as the league’s best strike partnership looks to continue its dominance in the league.