BRENDAN RODGERS believes 20-goal Luis Suarez is flourishing from Liverpool’s ‘Ground Force’ football this season.
But the Reds boss refuses to take the credit for the forward’s prolific form in front of goal – and thinks that the developing partnership with new boy Daniel Sturridge will only see the Uruguayan wreak even more havoc in opposition defences.
Suarez scored his 20th goal of the season on Saturday, already three more than last term, with almost half a campaign still to go.
And the Uruguayan seems to have benefited more than anyone from the change of playing pattern introduced by Rodgers.
But the boss insisted: “All the credit’s down to him. He’s a big talent.
“You’ve got European players so the model of the game certainly suits him. He’s playing in a team that’s in a flow.”
Last season Suarez often played off a target-man in Andy Carroll, but Rodgers doesn’t think that utilises his talents to the full.
“If he’s playing off a second striker, playing off a second ball which is from an angle or straight down the middle, you’re playing off pieces and that can be difficult,” he added. “And he’s a player that is great on the move.
“But in order to be on the move you need the team and the ball to be moving.
“And once you do that, that opens up more spaces and he’s probably flourished with that. But all the credit is down to Luis Suarez because he’s got to finish the chances and you saw today he was clinical.
“I didn’t see the combination and the relationship last year – how it worked and how it flowed – obviously this is a model we’re trying to create which is about fluidity and mobility at the top end of the field and when you have mobile players who can move it moves defenders and opens up more space which Luis thrives in.”
There were further signs of a growing partnership between Suarez and Sturridge, not least in the link for Suarez’s goal which saw his strike partner let Lucas’ pass run through his legs for Suarez to race onto.
“They linked very, very well and obviously both got on the scoresheet which is great,” added Rodgers. “Luis has done what he’s done for us all season. He gives 100 per cent every game and combined really well with Daniel up front.
“There was a real fluidity about our movement today.
“They are both players who are not just static. Daniel’s got pace and power but he’s also clever. That was important for us today because Norwich are tough to break down.
“Having Daniel up there gives the opponent someone else to really worry about.
“Suarez has been incredible for us this season and has had some young players up there with him, but we’ve now got a recognised goalscorer up beside him.
“If you look at the movements between the two of them...
“ The second goal was a wonderful demonstration of how good players can link together.
“It was great vision of Daniel to see the run of Luis coming from the outside.
“It was a great weight of pass by Lucas and then he finds himself one v one.
“I have seen it in training in their early parts here. Their combinations have been really good.”
After the disappointment of last weekend’s defeat at Old Trafford, Rodgers was delighted by the way his side bounced back.
“I couldn’t have asked for more,” he said.
“The players were brilliant today in their application and attitude.
“It was a great response (to the Manchester United defeat) and a great home performance.
“We had a real fluidity in our movement today, in the top end of the field.
“Equal to that our pressing, and defensively we were very intense in getting the ball back.”
Rodgers added: “Chris (Hughton) has done a terrific job to really turn the corner from when we played them last.
“They went on a real resilient run and we knew it was going to be a tough game but the first goal was important – Jordan gets a great goal – and then that sets us on the way and I thought our flow after that was very good.
“We’ve had a lot of games here this season where teams have come and sat and it’s been difficult for us to find space.
“We needed that goal early on. And it was a terrific piece of play by Suarez who wriggled his way into the box – the ball dropped to Jordan and what a strike it was.
“It was a great finish and the opponent then has to come out and get after the game and that allows more spaces to open up.
“I thought once we got the goal we controlled and managed the game really well. The rhythm in our game was very good and there was a good flow. And we scored some outstanding goals. Today we equalled the number of home wins from last season, and we’ve still got a number of months to go.
“For any team, if you’re going to be successful, your home form is vital.”