LIVERPOOL’S potent new double act will be tasked with getting past the Premier League’s most miserly defence tomorrow afternoon.
Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez head for the Etihad looking to further enhance a partnership which has blossomed over the past month.
In the five matches since Sturridge arrived in a £12million deal from Chelsea, the pair have netted seven goals between them.
Having been left to plough a lone furrow for so long this season, Suarez’s form has moved up another notch with the addition of some quality support.
They combined expertly in the 2-2 draw at Arsenal in midweek and now Colin Pascoe is hoping they can repeat the trick against Manchester City.
The champions have gone more than nine hours of action without conceding a goal, but Liverpool’s assistant boss believes City will be hard pressed to contain Sturridge and Suarez.
“The signs we have seen between those two have been very encouraging,” Pascoe said.
“You never know how well they are going to get on, even though you’re obviously hoping it will work, but it’s been great so far.
“They have been brilliant from day one. The way they keep looking for each other, the way they’re making runs off the ball. They come short, they go long and it’s been great to watch.
“You see them in training and in matches looking for each other. Good players will always find that half a yard.
“When they go on the pitch their football takes over. Their finesse and football brain has enabled them to gel together.
“City’s defensive record is very good but I’m very confident we can do something about that. We’ll be positive and go out there to win the game.
“When you have Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge in your team there’s always a possibility you will score goals.”
Sturridge will have an added incentive tomorrow as he lines up against the club he left to join Chelsea back in the summer of 2009.
The 23-year-old rejected City’s offer of a new contract after growing frustrated at their obsession with making big money signings rather than putting their faith in home-grown talent.
Pascoe believes Sturridge is ready to show them what they’re missing.
“The ability Daniel has got to beat players and to score goals has been a great addition to our squad,” he added.
“The way he’s taken to training, to games and everything has been brilliant. That £12million fee could definitely prove to be a bargain.”
Many viewed it as a gamble when Brendan Rodgers vowed to move Suarez from his position leading the line to accommodate Sturridge’s arrival.
However, the manager’s decision has been vindicated with Suarez flourishing both in a deeper central role behind Sturridge and out on the left flank.
The prolific Uruguayan took his tally for the season to 22 in midweek and he has netted nine goals in his past nine games.
“Luis wanders, he just wants to find space and wants to score goals,” Pascoe said. “Whether that’s drifting in from either wing or whatever, it’s anything to get half a yard.
“That’s what strikers do – it’s all about good movement. Daniel does the same and they complement each other very well.”
Suarez reaffirmed his commitment to the cause this week as he vowed to stay loyal this summer even if Liverpool fail to secure a Champions League spot.
Pascoe admits that was the perfect boost at the end of a transfer window which saw the Reds secure the services of both Sturridge and Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho.
“It’s great news. Luis loves Liverpool and he loves being here,” he said.
“He signed a new contract last summer and arguably he’s in the best form of his life under Brendan. I’d say he’s the best striker in the Premier League and we’re just glad that Luis is playing for us.
“We are very happy with the business we did during the January window. The targets we wanted we got with Daniel and Coutinho coming in.”
Coutinho won’t be involved tomorrow as he has returned to Italy and won’t start training with the Reds until next week.
Pascoe said: “He is away at the moment getting things sorted, but on Monday or Tuesday he will come in and we’ll assess him then.
“We are looking forward to working with him. He’s a young lad who loves getting on the ball and taking defenders on. He has great vision and awareness of his team-mates. He will be a great addition to the squad.”
Jose Enrique is set to start tomorrow after making his return to action as a substitute against Arsenal.
Midfielder Jordan Henderson will retain his place following his man of the match display at the Emirates.
“Jordan is doing brilliantly,” Pascoe said. “He has played in a lot of different positions and has excelled. His chest is out but he’s still quiet, humble and works hard.
“He’s playing with confidence and he’s showing on the pitch how much he’s enjoying his football at the moment.
“He always puts a shift in and whenever he’s asked to do something his response is fantastic.”