For many, Liverpool wouldn’t have savoured half of the success they basked in last season were it not for Luis Suarez.
In the time that’s elapsed since the Reds signed 2013/14 off with victory over Newcastle, the enigmatic Uruguayan has suffered a knee-ligament injury, bitten Giorgio Chiellini, been banned for four months and signed for Barcelona, prompting the very same doubters to spell Red doom for the forthcoming campaign.
But the unquestionable, obscene, tear-inducing brilliance of the Uruguayan masked that of another outstanding forward in the Reds arsenal.
Daniel Sturridge scored 21 league goals last season and would’ve claimed the shiny shoe handed to Suarez had his goal-getting companion not been considered for the award.
With the double-act divided, the former Manchester City and Chelsea marksman now becomes the focal point of the Anfielders’ attack and, based on his rapid rise from bench-warmer to goalscoring aficionado, it stands to reason that his tally will swell, not shrink, this season, so get on his 11/2 to top the Premier League net-bulging charts.
Premier League Pedigree
It’s only really during his Liverpool tenure that the enormous potential of the Birmingham-born defence-tormentor has been realised, but boy is he making up for lost time.
He’s notched an incredible 31 in 43 for Brendan Rodgers’ men.
Suarez’s aforementioned absconding has left the limelight for Sturridge to occupy by himself and with no blockbuster attacker yet to be uncovered by the Anfield recruitment department, it looks as though his will be the first name scribbled on the team sheet when fit.
Rickie Lambert’s arrival is to provide support, rather than opposition for the line-leading berth.
The beat of the ‘no Suarez’ drum booms again in Sturridge’s ear, who will no doubt miss the 12 assists he laid on last term.
But with Raheem Sterling, Steven Gerrard, Philippe Coutinho and Jordan Henderson providing the munitions, he won’t be short of opportunities.
Each member of this conjuring quartet averaged at least 1.6 key passes per 2013/14 outing, while their combined assist count stands at 32.
He was absent for just six weeks last term owing to an ankle injury, which is the longest period the 24-year-old has been sidelined for in his career thus far.
This means prospective backers can make their move without the fear of their runner spending long periods in the sick bay.