Liverpool’s record goalscoring partnership of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge were a devastating force, but they did not like each other one bit – that is according to former Reds star Jason McAteer.
Speaking to the Daily Star, McAteer revealed some of the tension going on behind the scenes in Brendan Rodgers’ squad and how Sturridge was not disappointed to see Suarez depart the club for Barcelona this summer.
Affectionately nicknamed ‘SAS’ – in homage to former potent Premier League attacking duo Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton – Suarez and Sturridge scored an incredible 52 goals combined in the Premier League season – a record number for Liverpool.
Those goals fired the Reds to an unexpected second place finish behind eventual champions Manchester City, but they were two or three wins away from claiming the title for themselves.
The pair at times appeared to have a telepathic relationship, such was the synchronicity of their play and few defences in the Premier League were able to withstand them.
Not all smiles
However, this rapport on the field did not continue off of it and McAteer has revealed that the relationship between them was icy at best.
"I don't think they got on. Put it this way, I don't think they went out for dinner with one another,” he said.
"They worked well as a partnership but it was a love-hate relationship. Sometimes one would shoot instead of passing to the other, the next time it might be the other way round.
"They were probably trying to outdo each other and score more than the other - but it worked for Liverpool."
Does it matter?
Liverpool fans probably care little about how much Sturridge and Suarez disliked one another as long as they were scoring goals; in fact, they will be wishing the pair were still able to continue their tense relationship now.
Suarez’s £65milllion move to Camp Nou came after he was banned for four months by FIFA following a bite on Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup in Brazil while playing for Uruguay.
It was the latest long suspension for the controversial striker purchased from Ajax in 2011; he had already been forced to sit out numerous games for a bite on Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic and racially abusing then Manchester United defender Patrice Evra.
After such an impressive campaign last term, the importance of the pair to Rodgers’ has been made plain for all to see so far this season.
Sturridge was injured on international duty and the Anfield club have lost both Premier League matches he has missed, while they needed an injury time penalty to see off minnows Ludogorets in the Champions League.
An already vulnerable defence has looked far more susceptible when the outstanding attacking play of Suarez and Sturridge is taken away from the side.
Mario Balotelli was purchased in the summer but he has yet to settle in to life at Anfield and looks a little lost up front by himself, but there are plenty of positives in the outstanding youngster Raheem Sterling.