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Suarez Doesn't See Sturridge as a Rival

After scoring five goals in two Premier League games since Luis Suarez returned from suspension, the pairing of the Uruguayan and Daniel Sturridge is looking like it might be very potent indeed. Suarez had some interesting post-match thoughts on that.

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This was definitely NOT a dance partnership of note...
This was definitely NOT a dance partnership of note...
Gareth Copley

Well, that was all very pleasant, wasn't it? Another weekend of favourable results and Liverpool sit joint-top of the league, almost a fifth of the way into the season. It's easy to allow such moments to pass unacknowledged in the rush to be the most cynical, the most jaundiced or the finest Eeyore impersonator. This type of miserabilism has been justifiably common amongst Reds' fans in recent seasons. Indeed, it has become almost a protective layer to shield us from the bleak reality, but to persist with it through times like these is what Shakespeare's Claudius called "impious stubbornness."

Suffice it to say that the current farrago which passes for your scribbler's personal life, of late, has afforded precious few reasons for mirth or celebration but Liverpool Football Club have brightened a gloomy vista. We, as a body of fans need to redefine our collective thought-processes. This is the very thing we have hoped for -- a team that is competitive at the top end of the league spear-headed by a pair of top-class strikers that can keep them there.

Please, gentle reader, do not drape yourself fully in that cloak of cautious circumspection and pessimistic wariness we have gathered around us fretfully in recent times. Allow yourself a moment of abandon; a period of exultation. Emotional prudence be damned. Liverpool are top of the league and boast a stellar strike partnership again. To hell with doleful dejection; let's do the Danny dance, wriggly arms and all. For what can be the loss? There will be plenty of time for misery and melancholia should things go awry. Why not enjoy the delight of looking down on Mourinho, Moyes et al? Is it not wonderful, for a while at least, to feel the panicky stares of the Eye-Gouger and Mr. Giant Eyes burning on our backs?

On Saturday night I spoke with some clued-in Reds who spent most of their time lamenting what they perceived to be the decline of Steven Gerrard, the shoddy decision-making of Brendan Rodgers, the insufficient cover at full-back and the kind of scurrilous gossip that we abhor when printed in rags like the S*n. Have we really become such po-faced joy-vacuums? Have we really forgotten what it's like to enjoy our team and to see the positives that are staring us in the face?

Chief amongst those beneficences is the remarkable duo of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge. Sturridge has been Liverpool's MVP thus far and his goals are primarily responsible for the club's lofty placing. He has managed this feat whilst clearly fitness-impaired and without the kind of recuperation he might genuinely need. Many, myself chief amongst them, doubted what Sturridge would bring to the club and had allowed stories of awkwardness and ego to influence our expectations. Since his arrival, however, the man has been exemplary in his attitude, application and execution -- a genuine star, who has suddenly become the man on whom noted face-massager, Roy Hodgson, is reliant for the England national team.

Luis Suarez, Liverpool's outstanding talent and a man generally considered to be in the world's top five or six forwards, has also re-emerged from self-imposed exile after flirting outrageously all summer with anyone sporting Champions league official merchandise. Most of us had written-off any hope of Suarez donning the red this season and many were stung deeply by his desire to leave Liverpool. The club, however, remained firm and the player's machinations via his agent, Pere Guardiola, came to naught. Until January at least, we will have the services of a truly mesmerizing talent. The opening goal against Crystal Palace was a perfect reminder of the Uruguayan's unique alchemy.

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of all is the way in which the two players have dovetailed. The history of Liverpool is sprinkled with formidable partnerships -- Toshack and Keegan, Dalglish and Rush, Barnes and Beardsley, Gerrard and Torres -- and many media observers have been, rather prematurely, trying to elevate Suarez and Sturridge into that kind of company. Such comparisons are, for the moment at least, embarrassing.

Yet, there has been an undeniable brio and fluidity to their interaction on the pitch. Suarez, in an interview with the club's official television channel, was very interesting in his observations about the budding partnership. Depending on how we interpret the word 'one' we might perceive that our number seven sees a pecking order, with himself the focus of the attack. Alternatively, it might simply be a substitute for 'a,' in the way of many for whom Spanish is the native tongue. Of course, we are hardly unfamiliar with interpretation issues when it comes to Suarez interviews.

"We compete for the shirt of Liverpool and we try our best for the team, not for me or him," insisted the forearm fancier. "When you have one big striker and a very good player in Daniel, I am so happy. He tries his best for the team and tries his best to play with me...Last season we didn't play very well and we finished in a bad position and this season, we'll try to be better. If we stay with the same football style and try for the win every game, we can try for the top four."

Lest we forget, Liverpool did quite nicely without Luis Suarez, and it is only thanks to Daniel Sturridge, that he is rejoining a team that has positioned itself at the top of the pile. Still, even if his comments could be read as a touch solipsistic, a healthy self-regard seems to be a necessary evil when it comes to world-class talent and Suarez is surely that. His presence on the pitch elevates Liverpool. For as long as he is in Red, we should enjoy his contributions even if some of us are slower than others to embrace him as a returning hero.

There are, undoubtedly, issues in most departments for Liverpool Football Club and those inclined to gloomy introspection have plenty with which to work -- a personnel issue in the centre, a skill-set issue on the flanks, an uncertainty about the strongest defensive structure -- and yet Liverpool remain top, with a pair of strikers that are the envy of their rivals. Take a moment. Smile. You never know what the future holds, one way or the other.

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