This season seemed to be the perfect opportunity for Daniel Sturridge. Praised by Jurgen Klopp for his fitness and form in pre-season, it looked like Daniel Sturridge could return to the Liverpool front-line and be a real force once again.
Unfortunately, a hamstring strain in Liverpool’s pre-season friendly against Bayern Munich as he chipped the ball into the net, kept him out of the opening week of the campaign. Now, he is back in the frame for Liverpool and was given a surprise start at Anfield for the first home game of the season against Crystal Palace.
Sturridge started ahead of his competitors like Divock Origi, Dominic Solanke and Danny Ings in the central forward role as Roberto Firmino was rested, but in truth he was disappointing and failed to justify his place in the side before being hauled off just after the hour mark as his fitness levels dropped.
With 33 touches, only goalkeeper Simon Mignolet made fewer. Only two of the starting eleven possessed a lower pass completion ratio than the England international too, and when he did have chances come his way, he failed to capitalise.
Sturridge registered two shots, both off target, and really failed to test Wayne Hennessey in the Crystal Palace goal. Liverpool’s service was not the best, but that still represents a poor return from a player with as much quality as the former Chelsea and Manchester City man.
What did not help him is that a lot of the chances Liverpool created came from the wings, with Andrew Robertson at left-back creating more chances than any other player. That did not help Sturridge, who is not known for his aerial ability and he failed to win a single aerial duel.
However, there were some positives. Sturridge’s work rate was clear for all to see, as has not always been the case, and he showed signs that he is adapting to life under Jurgen Klopp. Sturridge was prepared to drop deep or drift wide, switching positions with his fellow forwards.
That may give him hope that he can revive his Liverpool career. He will have to perform much better than he did on Saturday on his next opportunity, but it is certain that he will get another chance.