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Rodgers delight after Sturridge's striking return

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Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge. Picture credit: Darren Staples /  REUTERS

Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge. Picture credit: Darren Staples / REUTERS

Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge. Picture credit: Darren Staples / REUTERS

LIVERPOOL manager Brendan Rodgers was delighted to see the strike partnership owner John Henry described as a "dynamic duo" reunited and in full swing.

Daniel Sturridge returned from a seven-week absence to score one and set up the second of Luis Suarez's two goals in a madcap 5-3 win at Stoke – the Reds' first in the league for just over 29 years.

Sturridge and Suarez, labelled the Reds' 'SAS', average a goal every 56 minutes when playing together so it was no wonder Henry tweeted "What a dynamic duo!" following Sturridge's introduction midway through the second half which helped lift Liverpool back into the top four.

"Daniel has pace and power on the counter-attack and both combined very well," Rodgers said. "Both are outstanding talents – you can see that from their link-up for both Luis' second goal and Dan's movement for Luis to play him in (for the final goal) was exceptional in such a short space.

"Sturridge showed great skill and awareness to get up and have two touches to finish the game (after Jack Butland had brilliantly stopped his initial effort). To get the fifth goal here really shows that threat we have."

PIVOTAL

The pivotal moment came early in the second half when Marc Wilson was judged to have brought down Raheem Sterling allowing Steven Gerrard to restore Liverpool's lead from the spot.

Sturridge's emergence off the bench for his first appearance since November 23 saw him set up Suarez before – after Jon Walters had pulled one back – the Uruguayan repaid the favour with an inch-perfect cross, from which the England international scored at the second attempt after a brilliant save from Jack Butland.

Rodgers rejected suggestions Sterling had dived and could get himself a reputation.

"I don't think he's in that bracket. He is a fearsome competitor and he is not that type," he added. "Goodness me he is a young boy who gets kicked left, right and centre and we got good fortune. I don't think he has gone down easily. Contact was minimal but the pace he is going at puts him over."


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