With speculation circling regarding his Liverpool future, the pressure was on Daniel Sturridge when he rose from the bench to replace Divock Origi, who had scored five goals in his previous five games, with just eight minutes of normal time remaining at Goodison Park on Monday night.
Origi had experienced a frustrating night, playing in a central striker role but managing just one shot which went wide of the mark. In the first half the service towards him was poor but then in the second, nothing he tried seemed to come off. Five dribbless all ended in failure and he completed just one of his four crosses when dropping deep to get the ball.
Sturridge came on with a burst of pace and immediately gave a tiring Everton side a problem. Sturridge dropped deep and hovered back rather than waiting on the shoulder of the last man, looking ready to pounce should the ball fall back to him at all, with his movement everything that Origi had given up doing late on.
In his first game back from injury since early November, Sturridge’s return could not have come at a better time and it was him who picked the ball up from a throw-in, turned inside and drilled a low, powerful shot against the right hand post having beaten Joel Robles, with Sadio Mane on hand to fire the ball into an empty net to seal the three points in the 93rd minute.
Some have claimed that Sturridge is playing for his future, a task that will not have been made any easier by the fantastic form of young Belgian Divock Origi who capitalised on injuries to Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho, but he produced the goods in a brief cameo at Goodison and will now be hoping to earn a place back in the first team.
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