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Rodgers: Suarez Can Only Improve Sturridge's Game

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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.

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

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.