MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Luis Suarez returned to the Premier League in explosive fashion on Sunday, teaming up with strike partner Daniel Sturridge to propel Liverpool to a 3-1 win at Sunderland that inflicted more misery on the division's managerless bottom team.
Liverpool climbed to second place in the standings, two points behind Arsenal, after Suarez added to Sturridge's contentious opening goal that came off his arm by scoring twice at the Stadium of Light.
After serving a 10-match ban for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic during a league match in April, Suarez made his comeback in a frustrating League Cup loss to Manchester United on Wednesday.
He found the cutting edge against Sunderland, though, to help Liverpool earn a fourth win in six games and provide another demonstration of his burgeoning partnership with Sturridge that was cut short by Suarez's act of folly five months ago.
"He's getting the reward for his hard work over the period that he was off," Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said of Suarez. "Him and Daniel up front are a real, real handful. They combined very well."
Norwich beat Stoke 1-0 in Sunday's other match, with Jonny Howson scoring the winner from long range in the 34th minute to secure his team's second victory of the season.
Suarez couldn't have asked for more compliant opposition in his comeback match in the Premier League, with Sunderland having now lost five of its six games and being stranded at the foot of the table on just one point.
Interim manager Kevin Ball, who is in charge following the firing of Paolo Di Canio last weekend, was unable to shore up the league's leakiest defense in the face of one of the leading strike partnerships in English football.
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