David James says Daniel Sturridge was a bigger loss than Luis Suarez for Liverpool

Liverpool lost their most prolific goalscorer to Barcelona in Luis Suarez, but Daniel Sturridge endured a season ravaged by injury problems.

Former Liverpool goalkeeper David James has suggested it wasn't Luis Suarez the Reds missed over the course of the 2014/15 campaign, but Daniel Sturridge instead.

To some it may sound a little strange, considering that Suarez scored 31 Premier League goals in his last season at Anfield compared to 21 from Sturridge, but James thought in Liverpool's title challenge in 2013/14, the goals from Sturridge came at more important moments and contributed more to the final points total.

James told talkSPORT: “The key player for Liverpool was Daniel Sturridge. He scored more vital goals than Luis Suarez.

“Most of Suarez’s goals were scored in 2-0 or 3-0 wins when only the first goal mattered. Sturridge scoring in a 1-0 win was more important than Suarez scoring a hat-trick in a 5-0 victory.

“Having Sturridge injured for so long in the season was more detrimental than losing Suarez.”

Suarez moved to Barcelona for £75 million last summer, and his qualities have been further highlighted in his contribution to a League and Cup double in Spain - which could ultimately end up in a treble when Barca meet Juventus in the Champions League final this weekend.

But the loss of Sturridge for much of the past season has seen Liverpool lack a cutting edge.

At the start of the 2013/14 season, the Reds were without Suarez - but Sturridge found the net in each of the first four games as the Reds won three games 1-0, and drew the other 2-2. That start to the campaign showed the value of the England international and gives weight to the former goalkeeper's argument.

But the performance level of the rest of the Liverpool team seems to have dropped off this season without Suarez at the club. There could be other reasons for that, but it seems the Uruguayan's worth to the Liverpool team was a little more than just the goals.

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for LIVERPOOL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch