• Premier League

Sturridge to force Suarez out of central role

ESPN staff
January 4, 2013

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez could relinquish his role as a central striker to accommodate the club's newest signing Daniel Sturridge, according to manager Brendan Rodgers.

Sturridge, 23, revealed his frustration at not being used through the middle while at Chelsea, insisting he could not make an impact as a wide player.

The England international's deal with Liverpool has raised doubts over where he will be played in the Reds' attack and Rodgers claims Suarez is likely be sacrificed to compliment Sturridge's direct style.

"Daniel's best position is as a central striker, and I think the best role for him will be straight through the middle, with his pace," he said. "Where will Luis play then? He'll play for the common good of the team.

"But don't tell me it's a problem - it's never a problem having good players. Wherever Luis plays, he will make the same movements and find the space, because he is a world class player.

"There is not just one way to play 4-3-3. You can have one up and two wingers, a floating nine like Luis. Or you can have one like Daniel playing central, two in and around him narrow, with the full-backs bombing on."

While the changes could rile some Liverpool fans, with Suarez scoring 15 goals already this season, Rodgers is confident the 25-year-old can be prolific from anywhere on the pitch.

"When Luis was at Ajax he lpayed in behind as a number 10, in between the lines, and he played as a reverse winger from the left," he said. "So he wasn't quite out wide, he was tucked in round the corner.

"I spoke with Luis at length on it a number of times. This has been in the plan for a few months. The principles of your game are based on your players."

The Liverpool boss is confident in his decision to recruit Sturridge after initial doubts when trying to acquire the striker on a loan deal in the summer.

"You need to look in the player's eyes and see if they have that hunger," Rodgers said. "I've had time to speak to him and look around and see how he's going to fit in.

"Daniel is 23 years old and a wonderful talent. You put him in this group and all of a sudden you get stature and presence. He can learn from the likes of Steven Gerrard, not just about football, but about being a human being too."

Captain Steven Gerrard urged Sturridge to make his mark early on at Anfield, although he believes the consistency of Suarez will be difficult to match.

"He [Suarez] is a warrior. It's very rare to see in a centre-forward that mentality, that they never give up and fight for every ball - even when you are 3-0 up," Gerrard said. "It's 'kids in the street' stuff. He's the same every day in training.

"The players in the Premier League are lucky they only have to test themselves against him twice a season. They should be very glad of that because he's running rings around us every day, all year round. We have to put up with it every day.

"He's just world class. There are a handful of players in the world who operate on a different level and he is one of them.

"He can score all types of goals. I was looking in the programme at his goal record: for someone who the critics say doesn't score enough, just have a look at his record [Suarez has scored 31 in 64 league games].''

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