Soccer

Sunday 13 July 2014

Henderson hails Sturridge and Suarez

Published 13/01/2014|15:52

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Luis Suarez, right, and Daniel Sturridge, centre, have been in excellent form for Liverpool this season

Liverpool's reformed strike partnership of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge guarantees the side goals as they are the best in the league, according to midfielder Jordan Henderson.

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Sturridge marked a return to action after nine matches sidelined by an ankle sprain with a goal in the madcap 5-3 win at Stoke to lift the Reds back into the top four.

Suarez took his tally to 22 in 16 games with another two but what was equally impressive was how the pair immediately reconnected after being separated for so long.

The pair average a goal every 56 minutes when on the field together and Liverpool's principal owner John Henry has labelled them the "dynamic duo".

Between them they have 32 league goals and the team's total of 51 is only eight behind the Premier League's top scorers Manchester City.

"With quality like that up front you know you can always score goals. For me they are the best partnership in the league," said Henderson.

"Daniel is a fantastic player with great movement and you saw him and Luis combined really well for the goals so it is pleasing to see those two back.

"Daniel has been out for a couple of months and missed a lot of games and had only trained a few times but has come straight back in and linked up with Luis like he had never been away and they have been playing together all season.

"It's just natural because they are top players and just know where each other is.

"He (Sturridge) will be fresh for the rest of the season now and he's a great plus for us as he gives us another option."

Liverpool certainly needed their contributions at Stoke, where they ended more than 29 years without a league win, after conceding three with some slack defending.

Injuries have plagued the back four this season but Henderson said that was no excuse and the players knew it was an area they had to work on.

"We still have very good players who have come in and done well but it is little areas that we need to stop and control better," he added.

"Defensively we have to be a little bit stronger and stop making mistakes but we will work on that I am sure because we need to defend better as a team and manage the game better."

Central midfield is an area which needs to be strengthened but manager Brendan Rodgers deployed captain Steven Gerrard in a deeper holding role at the Britannia Stadium.

It is a position the England skipper could become more familiar with in the future.

"I thought Gerrard, in that midfield controlling position, was fantastic," said the Reds boss.

"He is someone who fits the profile of that role, he does it a bit more with England, and with the period (he had) out we had real success playing with a controlling player and two guys pressing.

"I feel that position is perfect for him: He has the personality to play it, he gives us great variety in his passing and I thought he showed great leadership, sliding across blocking passes and dropping in.

"I've spoken to him a lot about it and about the timing of when to play him in the role and you saw him play it really well."

The win was vital to get Liverpool back into the top four after their main rivals all won, and while there is probably more pressure from below than there is in terms of catching the leaders, Rodgers knows his side have a good chance of securing Champions League football for next season.

Of their remaining eight away matches only one - Manchester United - is against a side considered to be challenging them for the top four.

"We entered into the Stoke game with 18 games to go, nine at home, nine away knowing seven of those nine away were against teams in the bottom half," added Rodgers.

"That doesn't mean they are gimmes by any means as it is a very tough league but certainly we have shown enough that we are going to be challenging and that is all we ever wanted to be."

Press Association

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