We've lifted the above graphic from the GW6 issue of our free weekly newsletter. It shows the 8 gameweeks where Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez played together last season. We did this analysis for Rooney and Van Persie too.
There are actually 9 games represented here due to a DGW which Sturridge only played 90 minutes due to injury. As you can see we've totalled up the points per 90 minutes (PPG) for both players with and without each other on the pitch and the conclusions from last season was the same for both. Together they shared the points, on their own the bossed it.
From their two games together this season though (including the cup game with United), we have noticed a difference. Despite them again "sharing" the points versus Sunderland, albeit big points, Suarez vastly out-played Sturridge in terms of shots created with Sturridge uncharacteristically playing more of a creative role.
The two Form Cards below show both player's expected goals (xGoals) and assists (xAssists) based on shots taken and chances created, and from this expected attacking points (aPts) and their percentage of team's aPts.
From this we can instantly see Sturridge was much more involved with assists against Sunderland then he has beeen, and had his lowest xGoals rating of the season, indeed he had just the 1 shot. In contrast Suarez was the main man for goals and was not involved with creating anything for anyone else at all. The Capital One Cup game told a similar story. Suarez having 8 shots to Sturridge's 3.
It's very early to make a firm conclusion but if this data tells us anything it's that Suarez is set to dominate for Liverpool and Sturridge will miss out. Liverpool's 3-5-2 formation in these last two games perhaps backs up this conclusion. Last season in a nominal 4-3-3 Suarez and Sturridge rotated across the front. This time a 3-5-2 allows both players to remain central. This of course, does not mean Sturridge won't score, but if this early trend continues it'll be difficult for him to keep up the pace he's set for himself this season. A lot will depend on how the team's setup upon Coutinho's return from injury but that could be several weeks away still as Liverpool enter an excellent run of games.