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Rodgers admits risk in team selection - but it's Liverpool greatest strength

Brendan Rodgers is willing to risk defensive security in order to deploy his two stars in attack.

It’s become a household term this campaign, SAS. Suarez and Sturridge, Liverpool’s brilliant duo up front who have proven nothing short of a nightmare for opponents.

Combining to have a hand in the scoring of 45 goals for the Reds thus far in the Premier League, the two are responsible for having the Merseysiders as the only side within a shout of scoring leaders Manchester City.

Both Arsenal and Chelsea, providing the buffer at present between the Anfield outfit and Manuel Pellegrini’s voracious leaders, each sit significantly behind the fourth place Reds in the goals column.

Hitting the back of the net at a prolific rate hasn’t come without drawbacks – particularly of late when Liverpool were overrun in midfield too often for comfort against Stoke and Aston Villa.

A lay-off for Lucas Leiva has emphasised this point – leaving the Reds without a naturally defensive-minded presence in the centre of the park.

Yet last time out against Everton, Rodgers’ attack simply proved too deadly for a Toffees side many thought would succeed greatly in midfield – and the Northern Irishman intends to carry on in this manner.

"To get Sturridge and Suarez into the same team is a bit of a risk because other players have to fill in, but I would rather take that risk because they give us so much of a threat," he said on Saturday.

"The teams that are winning leagues are scoring goals, and I've always been that way - my ambition for the team is to play attacking and attractive football."

And largely, it’s worked for Liverpool. Rodgers would go on to allude to the side’s struggle to adapt to his football last term, but results in 2013-14 suggest the benefits do indeed outweigh the negatives.

Lacking a real destroyer to deploy alongside Lucas when fit, is it truly reasonable to expect the manager to turn away from his squad’s greatest strength?

Few other pairings in the Premier League can impact a match in tandem like Suarez and Sturrdige can – perhaps only Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie are comparable.

Even Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo can’t stack up to the Liverpool twosome statistically – leaving their mark on a diminished 32 goals.

The Reds weren’t able to complete any business last month in the midfield department, so for the next four months, there’s no better option to ensure the side continue winning than to outscore opponents.

Clearly Rodgers is on to something with his squad poised to at last secure their return to the Champions League, so indeed he’s correct to stick to his principles – after all, they’ve brought the club this far.

image: © ekilby

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