Stoke City 3 Liverpool 5: Brendan Rodgers hails returning Daniel Sturridge after goalscoring comeback from injury

England striker netted the final goal on his return from nearly seven weeks out

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers was delighted to see the strike partnership owner John Henry described as a “dynamic duo” reunited and in full swing.

Daniel Sturridge returned from a seven-week absence to score one and set up the second of Luis Suarez's two goals in a madcap 5-3 win at Stoke - the Reds' first in the league for just over 29 years.

Sturridge and Suarez average a goal every 56 minutes when playing together so it was no wonder Henry tweeted "What a dynamic duo!" following Sturridge's introduction midway through the second half which helped lift Liverpool back into the top four.

"Daniel has pace and power on the counter-attack and both combined very well," Rodgers said.

"Both are outstanding talents - you can see that from their link-up for both Luis' second goal and Dan's movement for Luis to play him in (for the final goal) was exceptional in such a short space.

"Sturridge showed great skill and awareness to get up and have two touches to finish the game (after Jack Butland had brilliantly stopped his initial effort).

"To get the fifth goal here really shows that threat we have."

While victory at the Britannia Stadium was a notable one it was not without its flaws.

Having gone 2-0 up through Ryan Shawcross' own goal and Suarez's 21st of the season, two former Reds Peter Crouch and Charlie Adam levelled things just before half-time.

The pivotal moment came early in the second half when Marc Wilson was judged to have brought down Raheem Sterling allowing Steven Gerrard to restore Liverpool's lead from the spot.

Sturridge's emergence off the bench for his first appearance since November 23 saw him set up Suarez before - after Jon Walters had pulled one back - the Uruguayan repaid the favour with an inch-perfect cross from which the England international scored at the second attempt after a brilliant save from Jack Butland.

Stoke manager Mark Hughes felt referee Anthony Taylor "bought" Sterling's attempt to win the penalty.

"Soft, easy - any adjective you like really. I don't know whether that penalty would've been given at the other end," he said.

"The reaction of the player himself, he immediately looks towards the referee, is a give-away and the fact there are about 3,000 Liverpool fans behind that goal as well reacting to it means unfortunately the referee has bought it and it's a poor decision.

"There was a hint of handball (by Sterling) and he has been given the benefit of the doubt.

"I thought the momentum was with us and almost immediately the game is taken away from us once again."

Rodgers rejected suggestions Sterling had dived and could get himself a reputation.

"I don't think he's in that bracket. He is a fearsome competitor and he is not that type," he added.

"Goodness me he is a young boy who gets kicked left, right and centre and we got good fortune.

"He has had many decisions gone against him in his young career, ones where he has had dead-cert penalties.

"The defender doesn't make contact with the ball but does the man and Raheem is running at such speed.

"I don't think he has gone down easily. Contact was minimal but the pace he is going at puts him over."

PA

Arts and Entertainment
filmPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
News
General Election
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders