There’s no denying it. Luis Suarez is an otherworldly talent. His constant running, eye for goal, mesmerising dribbling and unbelievable ability to squeeze through tight spaces makes defenders shudder at the thought of facing him. He has bagged 31 goals this campaign, and is widely regarded as being Liverpool’s best player. His contribution dwarfs an otherwise formidable 21 goal campaign from fellow striker Daniel Sturridge. The Uruguayan also finds the net more frequently when taking into account time played, with a goal every 90 minutes to Sturridge’s 103.5.

However, there’s this unshakeable feeling I had that Suarez has a tendency to load his goals up in matches Liverpool are winning comfortably, and against smaller teams. Whether its because he dropped deeper to help out the midfield against bigger teams, or because he was trying to feed the ball to teammates, I couldn’t drop the feeling that Suarez wasn’t nearly as untouchable against better defences. A thorough analysis of the stats, shows who Liverpool’s big game player is. Deducting the number of goals from final score lines, Sturridge has earned 20 points from his 21 strikes, while the Uruguayan has managed to get Liverpool 15 from his 31. Sturridge boasts a goal to points won ratio of 0.952 while Suarez’s stands at far less impressive 0.483. That’s right, Sturridge has earned Liverpool 10 more points than Suarez has, all while playing for 622 less minutes and scoring 10 fewer goals. Also, the average position of teams Sturridge has scored against is 10.95 in the table, while for Suarez its 13.77. One final parameter that I thought the two forwards can be compared on was how they perform under pressure, when their team is losing. 5 of Sturridge’s 21 goals came when Liverpool were behind. Suarez, on the other hand, has only managed one goal when Liverpool were trailing. It showed once again in the final game of the season, when Sturridge scored the second goal to put Liverpool up 2-1 against Newcastle after they seemed to be drawing the game. Suarez didn’t score at all.

It would be harsh to say Suarez can only score against weaker opposition. He’s scored against all the current top 6 teams in his time in the EPL. He brought Liverpool on level terms with Chelsea in the 2012-2013 season with a sensational 107′ strike. Its highly possible that his relatively ordinary scoring record, by his standards, that is, against bigger teams stems from the fact that he chooses to operate deeper in big games, choosing to run and drag defenders with him, and feed his strike partner. But there is no doubt in my mind that Sturridge is a hugely under appreciated talent; he flourishes under pressure, bettering arguably the one of the best players in the world, at times.

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