Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers praised his strikers after Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge inspired a 3-1 win at Sunderland.

It was Uruguay forward Suarez's first league game since serving a 10-match ban and he converted two chances created by Sturridge, who also scored.

The Luis Suarez effect

"He's getting the reward for his hard work over the period he was off," said Rodgers, whose side moved up to second.

"He and Daniel Sturridge are a great partnership, they combined very well."

Suarez, 26, made his comeback in Liverpool's League Cup defeat to Manchester United on Wednesday, but he and Sturridge posed a more potent threat at the Stadium of Light.

The 24-year-old England striker opened the scoring from a Steven Gerrard corner before crossing for Suarez to double the advantage.

Sunderland pulled a goal back through Emanuele Giaccherini after half-time, but Sturridge again set up Suarez to secure the points.

"I thought he was excellent the other night at Old Trafford," Rodgers said of Suarez, who had been suspended for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic.

"Him and Daniel up front are a real, real handful. We've changed our system a bit to a 3-4-1-2 and it's working well."

Liverpool are two points behind leaders Arsenal in the table and ahead of Tottenham on goal difference.

They lost at home to Southampton last weekend before the 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford - and Rodgers was pleased to see a return to winning ways.

"On the back of a really tough game where we played well during the week, today was always going to be physically demanding game for us," he added.

"I thought the work we put into it was exceptional."