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Liverpool's SAS better than United's Batman and Robin?

There has been talk that Liverpool's attacking duo are the best in the Premier League but how do they compare to the strike pair at the current champions?

Since Luis Suarez returned to the goal trail after his lengthy ban, he – along with strike partner Daniel Sturridge – have been dubbed the new SAS, a comparison to that of Chris Sutton and Alan Shearer who played a major role in winning the Premier League title for Blackburn Rovers in 1995.

Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson believes they will only get better as they are still learning to play with each other in this current system, while defender Kolo Toure says they are ‘without doubt’ the best strike partnership in the league.

Is the Ivorian right?

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The obvious comparison that is being made is between these two strikers and the pairing at Manchester United; Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney.

Suarez this season has scored three goals in 180 minutes this season (an efficiency return of one every 60 minutes) while also creating three chances for his team-mates. Obviously his strike partner Daniel Sturridge has played more games this season – starting every Premier League match, and has managed to strike on average every 104.7 minutes with his six goals. He has also laid on two assists this season and created a total of five chances.

Because the season is still in an embryonic stage, the aforementioned statistics remain a relatively small sample, so using last season as an example as well, we find that Suarez returned a total of 23 Premier League (one every 128.5 minutes) while also creating 90 chances. Daniel Sturridge scored 11 times (one every 104.4 minutes). He also seems to have tried to banish the tag that he was selfish early on his career by creating three assists and 32 chances.

Wayne Rooney has won many plaudits this season for his commitment at Manchester United despite his reported unhappiness at the club during the summer. His seasonal contributions to date have involved three league goals (159.3 minutes per goal) with nine chances created.

Last season Rooney found the net on 12 occasions at an average of 155.3 minutes between each goal. Out of the two, Rooney is often thought of as the provider (10 assists, 49 chances created) rather than Robin van Persie who is deemed to be the stylist like Suarez at Liverpool, however, van Persie provided almost as many assists (9) as Rooney but created more chances (70) last season. Van Persie also finished as the Premier League’s top scorer with 26 goals, scoring at on average of 107.7 minutes per goal.

This season however, he has only created the one chance but does have three league goals to his name, at 116.8 minutes playing time between each one on average.

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See also: Moyes likens Man United prodigy to Wayne Rooney, Ross Barkley

There are other factors to consider of course, and that is how much both partnerships have played together but the statistics seem to show that Liverpool’s two players score a little more regularly as individuals whilst all four players can create chances for the team.

Another key statistic to take from all this is how much playing time they have.

Sturridge: 1,253 minutes last season; 628 minutes this season.

Suarez: 2,955 minutes last season; 180 minutes this season.

Rooney: 2,019 minutes last season; 478 minutes this season.

Van Persie: 3,123 minutes last season; 467 minutes this season.

If you’re to decide who is the better partnership, the answer may not lie in the stats, it might be a case of who scores the vital goal on the biggest occasion, and in the case of Suarez and Sturridge, that hasn’t been tested just yet…

Who do you think is the best partnership in the Premier League? Do Mesut Ozil and Olivier Giroud deserve a mention? Are we discounting Alvaro Negredo and Sergio Aguero? Let us know in the comment section below…

image: © Viking-

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