Pitchside

Liverpool sharp-shooters easily outgunning United’s misfiring strikers

Pitchside Europe

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Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez have shot Liverpool up to third in the Premier League while the partnership of Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie continues to struggle as the pair battle to pull Manchester United back up the table.

But the question is: which strike partnership is better?

Sturridge has not stopped scoring since his move to Liverpool in January and the only thing that temporarily stopped Suarez was a 10-match ban during the latter stages of last season and the early part of the current campaign. Despite this lengthy suspension, it didn't affect Suarez too much as he now sits third in the top scorers' chart, two behind his team-mate who leads the way with eight goals.

Van Persie, meanwhile, has won the Premier League's Golden Boot for the last two seasons, with Arsenal and then Manchester United, after overtaking Suarez while he was banned with a total of 26 goals from 38 games last season. But his form in the current campaign has suffered, with a change in management leading to poor performances from himself and his team as a whole.

Rooney, on the other hand, was underwhelming for large parts of last season but has been fairly decent so far this term and David Moyes has had to rely on him.

Sturridge and Suarez have scored 14 goals in the Premier League this season, the same amount as the entire Manchester United team. They are on fire and that statistic proves it perfectly.

Rooney and Van Persie have scored a combined nine goals between them which shows the predicament United find themselves in.

Sturridge is the leading striker in terms of performance, scoring 307 in Squawka's Performance Score ranking system. Suarez is second with 255, followed by Van Persie (164) and Rooney (134).

Out of the four, Rooney has the best shot accuracy with 67%, compared to his team-mate's 50%.

Sturridge has a shot every 27.8 minutes, compared to Rooney's 31.1 minutes and Van Persie's 26.9, but it is Suarez who shoots the most frequently. After playing just four matches, the Uruguayan has hit 20 shots at a rate of one every 17.9 minutes. He also has the second best shot accuracy out of the four with 65%. From the 20 shots, he's scored six goals, a conversion rate of one goal for every 3.3 shots - the most clinical out of the four players.

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Rooney scores every 5.25 shots; his Dutch team-mate scores a goal with every 4.8 shots and Sturridge scores every 3.6 times he takes a shot. These figures provide an answer to how well Liverpool's front pairing are doing in front of goal compared to United's.

Suarez also comes out on top in terms of passing accuracy with a decent 79%, the same as Sturridge. The Liverpool duo have contributed to 18 chances being created between them, compared to Rooney and van Persie's 16. Rooney also has the worst passing accuracy of 75%.

Rooney and Sturridge are leading the way in terms of assists with two each but that's still only one more than Suarez and Van Persie both have.

Some have suggested that Van Persie seems to have become more isolated since Moyes took charge of United and the fact Suarez has completed more passes than the Dutchman in half the number of games proves he has not seen much of the ball.

In terms of figures and statistics, it is clear which strike pairing come out on top in this comparison. Suarez and Sturridge have been fantastic this season, in fact, they've been outstanding since Sturridge's arrival at Anfield in January. The Englishman recently become the fastest player to score 20 goals in Liverpool's history. It took him just 26 matches.

Suarez and Sturridge complement each other very well. They can both swap roles throughout a match; one becomes the creator who drops a little deeper while the other pushes up high, makes runs to stretch defences and finishes the chances inside the six-yard box. This was proven by two of Liverpool's recent results. During their 3-1 win at Sunderland, Sturridge turned provider for Suarez to tap in at the far post and played a huge role in the Uruguayan's second.

Against Newcastle United, Suarez turned provider to Sturridge, who headed in a cross inside Newcastle's six-yard box. Their understanding of each other on the pitch is fantastic and that's despite Sturridge revealing they play on opposite teams in training.

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Rooney and Van Persie, on the other hand, are struggling. It only seems to be one or the other in the ascendancy at United. Last season, Van Persie effectively made the difference in the title race, whereas this season, Rooney is carrying United through their rough patch of form in Moyes's early days. There is even talk of a rift between Van Persie and the Old Trafford boss due to the change in style that has resulted in Rooney becoming the main man.

Moyes has a tough challenge to get his two main men starring and working together in perfect harmony, but just down the East Lancs Road, Brendan Rodgers has nothing to do but let his two forwards flourish and enjoy their football.

From Squawka.com - team and player football stats

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