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Tottenham's Sherwood Identifies Deadly Strike Partnership

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In focusing on the danger of Luis Suarez, some opponents have been too quick to overlook Daniel Sturridge. Tim Sherwood isn't making the same mistake, but that may not do him much good.

Clive Rose

As Liverpool prepared to face Sunderland, Black Cats' manager Gus Poyet became the latest in a growing line of opponents to suggest Liverpool owed their success to Luis Suarez. True to the extent that almost any successful team will have relied heavily on a star scorer, it was nevertheless an exceptionally shallow reading of a deadly, attacking Liverpool side. It also overlooked Daniel Sturridge. Tim Sherwood isn't about to make the same mistake.

"People say it’s not right to rotate centre backs but the same can be said for forwards," began the Tottenham manager, seeking to highlight the importance of partnerships to any team's success. "Every player wants to receive the ball differently and if you get into the rhythm of playing with another forward, it’s massive. The Sutton-Shearer partnership was immense, as was the Dwight Yorke-Andy Cole one for Manchester United.

"Liverpool have been fortunate enough with injuries to be able to play Suarez and Sturridge regularly. Even if one isn’t firing, the other does. There was a period where Suarez scored only one in six games but Sturridge was still scoring. They also have goalscorers all over the pitch and they’re probably the best team in the League from attacking set-pieces."

Take away either and Liverpool still have at least 16 more goals than the entire Spurs squad; take away both and Spurs only have a narrow four goal edge. Take away the top two scorers from both sides and a ten goal Liverpool edge is restored. It's the kind of math that says it's far more than just Luis Suarez making a difference between Liverpool and their opponents, and unlike some past opponents, Tim Sherwood seems to realise it.

Of course, realising it and figuring out a way to defend against it at Anfield aren't quite the same things. And after delivering the coup de grace to Andre Villas Boas' Tottenham career at White Hart Lane in December, Suarez, Sturridge, and the rest of Liverpool's goal scoring machine will be looking to deal a blow to Spurs' latest manager on shaky ground come Sunday.