Liverpool’s Luis Suarez may be streaking away with the 2013/14 Premier League top-scorer gong, with a whopping 28 top-flight strikes plundered by the Uruguayan so far this term, but the second half of Anfield’s SAS partnership has been first-goal backers’ best friend of late.
Recent stats suggest Daniel Sturridge has a much better chance of banging in the opener at 5/2 against Sunderland, while bwin.com will double or treble those odds if they land and the 10-cap England man goes on to score one or two more.
Sturridge has bagged three opening goals so far in 2014, whereas Suarez has only managed one.
Not content with kicking off proceedings within 25 minutes of Liverpool’s 1-1 draw against West Brom at the Hawthorns, ‘Studger’ also got off the mark earliest in the topsy turvy 4-3 win at home to Swansea recently.
The 24-year-old then rose highest to nod home Adam Lallana’s deft cross to put England 1-0 up against Denmark after 82 minutes, having been played out of position during the first half at Wembley.
The Birmingham native doubled up after breaking the deadlock five matches ago against the Swans – a feat his strike partner hasn’t managed since December.
Sturridge’s fine double/treble form of late makes him the logical choice to run wild against Gus Poyet’s Black Cats, as Garry Monk’s side and Everton have both been on the end of first-half braces from the Three Lions striker since the last week in January.
Suarez – 2/1 favourite to score first – may have claimed three Premier League hat-tricks this season, with the most recent coming last time out at Anfield against Cardiff, but he hasn’t added to an opener since Liverpool took on the same opposition in south Wales over four months ago.
Steven Gerrard has fired first on two occasions since the end of January and also doubled up recently, but seven of the skipper’s eight goals in 2014 have been penalties.
There’s no doubting the class of the Reds and England captain, but Gerrard’s new holding-midfield role in Brendan Rodgers’ team has precluded him from filling his boots from open play thus far in this campaign.
He’s unlikely to add to his impressive penalty haul against Poyet’s men, as Sunderland haven’t conceded from the spot in normal time since the start of October, so stick with Sturridge at 5/2 to land the spoils once more at Anfield.