Daniel Sturridge’s opening goal in Liverpool’s 3-1 defeat of Sunderland sees him take the outright lead in the Premier League top-goalscorer stakes, but with Luis Suarez back in the fold the England man should enjoy being the country’s leading striker while it lasts.
The former Man City and Chelsea hitman continued his brilliant start to the season with a fifth league goal in six games against the Mackems and is joint-third favourite at 9/1 to be the top flight’s sharpest shooter by the end of the campaign.
However, the returning Suarez is into 6/1 in this market – just behind favourite Robin van Persie at 7/2 – after bagging a brace against the Black Cats on his league comeback and can outgun his Liverpool teammate again this season.
Suarez has practically matched Sturridge’s Premier League tally in just two-thirds of the games
Sturridge’s record of 41 goals in 116 Premier League games is pretty solid considering he was in and out of the first team at both the Etihad and Stamford Bridge, but Suarez’s 40 strikes in 78 appearances is quite a feat.
Last season the England striker was lauded for grabbing ten goals in his first 14 league games for the Reds, yet Suarez’s tally of 23 net-bulgers in 33 starts was just as impressive and five of the former’s strikes came in the four games in which Suarez was suspended at the end of the season.
Philippe Coutinho’s absence will affect Sturridge more than Suarez
As was evident when completing his first hat-trick for the club with an incredible lob from just inside his opponents’ half in Liverpool’s 3-0 win at Norwich 17 months ago, the Uruguayan can make a goal out of nothing and starts a lot of his team’s attacks.
Sturridge has played further forward than his teammate during their brief time together at Anfield and many of his strikes have been laid-on after some classy midfield play by Coutinho, such as the second and third goals of the 6ft striker’s hat-trick at Fulham last season.
The Brazilian is expected to be out until at least the end of next month with a shoulder complaint.
Brendan Rodgers is prepared to play the pair up-front together
Suarez’s scoring record on Merseyside is particularly eye-catching considering he has spent most of his Anfield career playing behind an out and out centre-forward.
Rodgers’ decision to play his strike pairing up-front together in a 3-5-2 formation against the Black Cats and at Man Utd in the Capital One Cup suggests that Suarez, who did not create a single goalscoring chance for a teammate at Sunderland, will get even more chances to add to his brilliant record this season.