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Sturridge’s injury return will see Liverpool dial down the goals

| 09.01.2014

Daniel Sturridge is likely to return to the fray far sooner than expected after coming through an intensive solo training session, yet the renewal of his partnership with Luis Suarez may actually curb rather than add to Liverpool’s goal threat.

Brendan Rodgers’ men head to Stoke in their next Premier League games as 8/13 favourites.

The prospect of Sturridge and Suarez sharing the turf may prompt daydreams of a goalfest as the duo feast on the Potters, yet if the pair line up alongside one another then the 21/20 about under 2.5 goals in the match could be worth a punt.

Liverpool’s goal power was certainly improved when the Uruguayan returned from suspension to partner the former Man City and Chelsea man.

The Anfield mob notched nine times in six games before Suarez’s return from suspension, with four of those coming against Notts County in the Capital One Cup.

When the pair were started alongside one another the Merseysiders turned the scoring up a notch, with 16 goals in nine games before Sturridge’s injury.

That’s around 1.8 goals a game, not to be sniffed at, except that is if Liverpool score more without the England hitman in the XI, which they do.

The nine games in which Suarez has been tasked with leading the line alone his team have fired in 24 goals in nine games, a ratio of 2.7 per outing.

It’s not as if Liverpool have been exclusively slaughtering rabbits during that period either (although fluffy-tailed sides have been ruthlessly hammered).

Tottenham were spanked for five at White Hart Lane, while Man City and Chelsea were breached on their own turf to boot.

It may well be simply a matter of space.

With Sturridge occupying a centre-forward’s position, Suarez’s boundless roaming instincts are curbed and the scope of his sky-high footballing ambition is hampered.

It’s not Sturridge’s fault and he’ll provide his manager with a much-needed alternative option in an injury-hit period, but don’t be surprised if you see Liverpool supplying some more staid scorelines in the near future.