Rodgers: Suarez Can Only Improve Sturridge's Game

Word is still out on whether or not Sturridge will in turn benefit Suarez's dancing skills. - Gareth Copley

While it might be more fun for others outside the club to paint a picture of two rivals, Brendan Rodgers believes Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge are in the process of forming a positive and productive partnership.

Luis Suarez's much anticipated return on Wednesday against Manchester United saw the player make his first appearance in Brendan Rodgers' post-transfer window Liverpool. How he'd fit in alongside Daniel Sturridge and the club's other new attacking options was a subject of debate second only to the ongoing drama around a non-transfer to Real Madrid or Arsenalol.

While the Suarez/Sturridge partnership did not produce any goals mid-week, it's early days yet and Brendan Rodgers remains optimistic. Speculation that Daniel Sturridge would play second fiddle to Suarez upon the latter's return despite a strong start to his own season seem to be unfounded, with the manager believing no thunder will be stolen from Sturridge with Suarez's return.

"I think [Suarez's return] will only improve Daniel," said Rodgers. "It will only make him a better player. Good players want to play with other good players and I think you'll see how they perform together. They can be a real threat.

"It's not something Daniel or anyone else should be worried about. I think the focus is on the team and for the team to do well.

"We've been able to work in game situations in training [with Sturridge and Suarez] and there have been a lot of relationships formed in training. I thought the fluency in the game against Manchester United was good."

Despite the generally positive display, there was some debate over whether Sturridge should have been given a rest given he's played every minute of the season thus far. Injuries in other areas of the squad forced Rodgers to make different tactical choices, and leaving a consistent source of fire power on the bench against an arch rival isn't usually something a manager likes to entertain.

"It's my job to manage the dynamics and the structure of the team," Rodgers explained. "We looked at a different system the other night which will suit the players we have available and I think after a few days' preparation and a performance like the one at Old Trafford, we showed that we can work in that way."

Tactical flexibility is always a good thing, even if the reason for Rodgers being forced to try new things isn't. Now if only a way could be found to manage the dynamics of three substitutions per match, Liverpool would really be on to something.

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