Liverpool supporters must get a sense of déjà vu prior to the start of each new season when it comes to discussing the future of Daniel Sturridge.
The 28-year-old has consistently struggled with injuries since arriving at Anfield in January 2013 and has failed to shine under the stewardship of Jurgen Klopp.
This has left him as a peripheral figure at Liverpool with his future always appearing to be in doubt with the media linking him to a big-money transfer to a Premier League rival.
However, each summer we seem to get the same story.
Sturridge returns for pre-season and looks fit, sharp and back in form with the talk being of him earning another chance to make his mark and reassert his influence on the Liverpool team.
Supporters talk of him ‘being like a new signing’ and the manager highlights how he still could play an important roll in the season ahead.
That is, at least, until the 28-year-old picks up his first injury of the campaign and once more disappears from first team consideration.
It is a cycle that Sturridge has been through ever since Klopp was appointed and it looks like we are in for the same story once again.
The charismatic German told the club’s official website this week that the striker could still have a role to play in the forthcoming campaign whilst the media are talking about the England international getting another chance to impress.
The problem is that we have all been here before.
No one doubts that Sturridge is an incredibly talented player and that when he is fit and on form he is one of the best strikers in the Premier League. He has developed a reputation for being prolific in front of goal and yet you are left feeling that he has failed to maximise his potential.
Put simply, Sturridge in injury prone.
It is difficult to recall the last time that the 28-year-old navigated through a season without suffering a multitude of injuries and his physical fragility has greatly restricted the impact that he has been able to make at Anfield.
When he is playing, there are few better. The problem is being able to get him fit and injury free for any prolonged period of time.
This was highlighted in the second half of last season when the 28-year-old joined West Bromwich Albion on loan in January in search of regular game time ahead of the World Cup in Russia.
It was the perfect opportunity for him to re-establish himself for serious consideration as key components at both club and international level.
However, just three minutes into his first start he was substituted due to injury and he managed just six appearances for The Baggies before returning to Anfield in the summer.
The last chance saloon
To say that Daniel Sturridge has suffered persistent injury problems throughout his time at Liverpool would be something of an understatement and he is now walking in the last chance saloon in terms of saving his Anfield career.
The striker has just twelve months left on his current contract and was widely expected to leave during the summer transfer window. However, a culmination of circumstances appears to have provided him with one last chance to stake his claim to be a central figure at Anfield for the forthcoming season.
The Guardian are reporting that Sturridge could be in line to start Liverpool’s opening Premier League fixture against West Ham United in two weeks time.
The 28-year-old has been a central feature of the club’s pre-season preparations due to a number of high-profile names being absent due to the World Cup and he has looked sharp in the five friendly contests in which he has featured.
Reports suggest that he has impressed Jurgen Klopp over the summer and could be in line for a starting role with Roberto Firmino set to return to Anfield just a week prior to the start of the season following his exertions with Brazil.
As previously mentioned, we have been here before – but this could be Sturridge’s last lifeline.
Klopp has built a squad that is full of creative, attacking players and competition for places will be fiercer than ever this season. If Sturridge is unable to stay fit or stake his claim in the opening month of the season then it is more than likely that his future at Anfield will be all but over.
However, if he can capitalise on the early season openings in the forward line and stay fit then he could play his way towards a new contract.
That is assuming that he stays fit, of course.
All Liverpool supporters will be hoping the Sturridge can get himself fit and firing this season, yet we have been here before and history would suggest that it is only a matter of time before injury strikes again.