Pitchside Europe

Sturridge v Giroud: The real battle within Liverpool v Arsenal

Daniel Sturridge and Olivier Giroud are both key players for their respective clubs. The pair lead the line well and have scored some important goals this season.

As Arsenal head up to Liverpool to face the Reds at Anfield, Giroud will be hoping to keep up the Gunners' good form and stay top of the Premier League. Meanwhile, Sturridge will want to continue his excellent goalscoring run.

Since returning from injury that kept him out for seven weeks, Sturridge has scored five goals in four league matches. He also grabbed one in the FA Cup against Bournemouth. In the same time frame, Giroud has two goals from four league games.

The Frenchman's job isn't totally mirrored to Sturridge's, though.

The Englishman is expected to play on the shoulder and score as many goals as he possibly can, while also helping out defensively on the wings from time to time. Giroud is more of a holdup player and allows others to run forward and join the attack.

He is still Arsenal's main striker and goal-scorer but with just 10 goals in the Premier League this season, it's obvious he doesn't play in a similar manner to Sturridge.

The Liverpool hitman has 14 goals in 16 league games which places him third on the overall list of top scorers. He is likely to overtake Sergio Aguero soon, too, as the Argentine is out with an injury. That would place him and Luis Suarez at the top of the Premier League goals chart.

In fact, since making his Liverpool debut, Sturridge has scored 24 league goals, placing him second highest just behind Suarez (31).

This season, Sturridge has been superb. His Performance Score of 569 is much better than Giroud's 464. Sturridge actually averages a score of 35 per game, whereas Giroud averages just 21.

In terms of goals, Sturridge has Giroud beaten all ends up, but creativity is where Giroud shines. He's completed 19 key passes and assisted six goals, compared to Sturridge who has completed 12 key passes and assisted just three goals.

However, Giroud has done that is six extra games as Sturridge was out injured for quite some time over the Christmas period.

Both players are similar when it comes down to duels and the percentage of their success. Sturridge has won or successfully completed 49% of his duels compared to Giroud's 47%.

Of those duels, Giroud has won a staggering 90 headed duels, averaging four per game. Sturridge has won just one headed duel but that will be because the ball is given to him in a different way. His pace and dribbling ability allows him to receive the ball to his feet quickly, rather than his head.

Sturridge has completed 27 take-ons which is much better than Giroud's 15. Again, this will come down to how the two strikers play the game. Sturridge skips past people on the ball whereas Giroud holds them off to supply others.

In front of goal is where Sturridge shines and you can tell with his stats. Hitting the target with 55% of his shots means Sturridge is quite accurate. To convert 28% of those chances into goals means he's prolific. Giroud has hit 40% of his shots on target and scored just 18% of his.

That's where Giroud lets his team down. There were plenty of examples over Christmas and New Year that he isn't as good in front of goal as he is linking up in and around the penalty area.

Liverpool's forward shows an array of goals, too, with 11 of his 14 goals coming from inside the penalty area; Giroud has scored all of his inside the area.

Daniel Sturridge is in the form of his life at the minute and should he continue it at Anfield on Saturday, Arsenal will have a lot of problems keeping him at bay.

Liverpool, on the other hand, have to contain Giroud and not let him impose his physicality on the central defenders - especially in the air. He is likely to continue his great link-up play with the midfielders and that will cause Liverpool plenty of problems.

He needs to get his shooting boots on if he is to win this one for Arsenal, though.