It seems strange that a player who has scored 50 goals as quickly as Liverpool legends such as Fernando Torres and Luis Suarez is being linked with a possible exit from the club, but the goal return is only half the story when it comes to Daniel Sturridge’s Liverpool career.
He broke into senior football in 2006 aged 17 at Manchester City, where in his three years he scored five goals in 21 games. Sturridge then transferred to Chelsea, where he endured a more difficult period, predominantly spending a lot of time out on the wing and not in his preferred striker role.
In 2011, he was loaned out to Bolton Wanderers where he impressed, netting eight times in 12 games. This amongst his raw pace and finishing was enough to convince Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool to cough up £12 million for the Birmingham born striker.
Once at Liverpool, he proved previous Chelsea managers wrong. Scoring on his debut, Sturridge quickly became one of Liverpool’s deadliest attacking threats, and began to form a deadly partnership with Uruguayan Luis Suarez dubbed ‘SAS’, resulting in Sturridge finding the back of the net 21 times in the 2013/14 Premier League season, second in the list of top scorers.
However, during that season, the Englishman suffered a few injury setbacks, spending over a month on the side-lines in total, but this was overlooked as the Reds had the magnificent Suarez firing in incredible goals for them. Suarez left for Barcelona that summer, and so Sturridge was left as the team’s main striker, something he had been craving throughout his career. However, even more injury problems began to arise, and to make it worse just when he was about to return he suffered yet another injury. He marked his eventual return against West Ham with a goal, but it was certainly a disappointing campaign overall.
Serious questions were being asked of Sturridge’s body, and in fact his desire and commitment to the club, which began to rock the boat. Now with a new manager to impress, Sturridge has been left fighting for his place in the starting XI as he begins to trust his physical and mental resilience again.
The end of the season is nigh, and it is very unclear whether the forward will continue his career on Merseyside. Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, he remarked: “I’d never say I’m Liverpool until I die, I’d be lying.”
Jurgen Klopp made a controversial decision not to include Sturridge in Liverpool’s 1-0 defeat at Villarreal, opting for a front three of Philippe Coutinho, Adam Lallana and Roberto Firmino. Even when the game could potentially have been won, Klopp brought on Benteke for the last few minutes of the match.
Sturridge was frustrated not to have been included in this big European semi-final, and has taken to the media to vent this frustration. It’s unknown whether his comments have been made to irk his manager, or to entice other clubs but he is definitely trying to make a point.
Personally I don’t think he should be doing this through the media, but it has raised questions over his future. Sturridge himself feels as if he is “scoring goals he never used to”, but what has always concerned fans is his injury problems. But on the flip-side, when fully fit he is simply deadly in front of goal.
My personal opinion is Sturridge does want to stay at Liverpool, but he is almost warning Jurgen Klopp that he’s not prepared to stay at the club if he is going to spend his time on the bench. He told The Mirror that he is “someone who wants to play every minute of every match,” which is a refreshing trait in a modern day footballer. However, I don’t believe Klopp’s plan is to keep the 26 year old on the bench. At Villarreal he was trying to contain the hosts with a defensive false 9 style line-up, which only just failed to work as the Spaniards nicked a 1-0 lead right at the death.
But with only few days training, the former Dortmund manager wanted to stick with a side who had played together, hence Daniel was left out. It could be questioned why he wasn’t brought on at any point during the game as he was in
good form prior to the match, but perhaps Sturridge needs to learn that he needs to respect the manager’s decisions and bide his time to really shine.
Klopp will be looking to utilise Sturridge in the future, the only real reason he wasn’t played was for tactical purposes, not because the German does not believe in his striker’s ability. Ultimately, I don’t see Sturridge leaving the club in the summer. If he does, it may well be the wrong move for all parties concerned.
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