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English Premier League

Is it the end of the road for Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge?

The Englishman has made just two starts since January.

Josh Kerr

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Photo: Getty Images

There was a time where Daniel Sturridge was one of the most prolific goalscorers in the Premier League.

His partnership with Luis Suarez, during the 2013/14 campaign, which saw 55 goals scored between them in all competitions, was one of the greats of the Premier League era.

However, the 28-year-old is undoubtedly fading and, at the end of his disappointing West Brom loan spell, it is difficult to know what the future holds for the Englishman.

Sturridge joined the Baggies on deadline day of the January transfer window after only starting once for his parent club Liverpool.

The move would hope to increase his chances of making Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad as well as help to ensure the Premier League survival of a club close to home for the forward.

However, the move has gone horribly wrong for both parties since the start of the new year.

The move was initially described as a “coup” by recently sacked Baggies manager Alan Pardew, who won only one of his 18 Premier League fixtures.

(Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

Despite the incredible turn-around undergone by caretaker boss Darren Moore, the drop was inevitable for West Brom and the signing of Sturridge now looks to have been one of the season’s most disappointing pieces of businesses.

The Liverpool loanee will cost West Brom £4 million in wages and his initial loan fee by the end of the season – an extra painful expense that will have to be shouldered by the Baggies as they prepare for life in the Championship.

Sturridge has played no part in the club’s recent upturn in form. In the 1-0 win away at Newcastle United last weekend, the striker was an unused substitute with Hal Robson-Kanu preferred ahead of him, embodying a dramatic fall from grace for the former Chelsea striker.

The Englishman is now nobody’s first choice. His injury-proneness is at a point of parody and while his goals to game ratio is undeniable, it is undone by an inconvenient truth. The striker just isn’t worth the risk currently and with the best of his days undoubtedly behind him, it is hard to see a club taking a gamble on the forward.

He is also likely to become a record holder for all the wrong reasons. If Liverpool were to win the Champions League, with the demise of West Brom from the Premier League, he would become the first ever Champions League winner to be relegated that same season.

(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

His parent club are firing on all cylinders, scoring 130 goals in all competitions and heading into their first Champions League final in 11 years.

With the likes of Mohamed Salah, the PFA and Football Writers’ Player of the Year, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane all finding the back of the net for fun this season, it is difficult to see Sturridge winning back a first-team place.

A player on a £120,000-a-week pay packet is not one to warm the bench with.

The West Brom move clearly hasn’t worked out. However, a cut-price deal for Sturridge could appeal to a newly-promoted side looking to stay up or a mid-table side seeking greater attacking options.

It’s always sad to see one of the country’s most promising stars fade as dramatically as Sturridge has in recent years. However, with the right club, a season free from injuries may just yet see the dancing striker show glimpses of his former self.

I am a freelance sports journalist currently studying sports journalism at Staffordshire University with a passion for all things football. I'm a keen supporter of Liverpool Football Club, as well as my local side Forest Green Rovers. I've worked for online newspaper VAVEL UK as well as a media assistant for Chester FC in the Vanarama National League.

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Champions League

Gareth Bale’s red-hot Real Madrid form should scare Liverpool

The Welshman has scored 11 goals in his last 15 appearances.

Max Cohen

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Gareth Bale
Photo: Getty Images

In Real Madrid’s final league match of this season on Saturday, Gareth Bale swept home a lovely right-footed finish to open the scoring against Villarreal.

That goal marked the Welshman’s 11th goal in his last 15 appearances for club and country; a remarkably prolific run of form that should scare Liverpool ahead of next weekend’s Champions League final.

Injury problems have marred much of Bale’s time at the Bernabeu, and he suffered a lengthy two-month absence from the first team this fall.

Yet, after returning from his injury lay-off, the former world-record signing has hit full form in the last two months.

In that time period, the winger has scored a hat-trick for Wales, braces against Las Palmas and Celta Vigo, and a crucial goal versus Barcelona.

This spring resurgence presents a worrying prospect for Liverpool’s defence, who already will have their hands full trying to keep Cristiano Ronaldo in check in Kiev.

(Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)

Add in Gareth Bale hitting full form, and suddenly the task at hand for Jurgen Klopp’s men appears far more difficult.

The 28-year-old also has quite the decorated history for los Blancos in cup finals. In his debut season for Real, Bale scored sensational winning goals in both the Copa del Rey and Champions League finals.

The following season in the European Cup final, the Welshman assisted Real Madrid’s sole goal and scored his penalty in the ensuing shoot-out; his cup final record is simply superb.

Combined with Bale’s recent tremendous goalscoring form, the prospect of facing up against the powerful winger might strike fear in the Liverpool backline.

But the Reds have proven adept in stifling some of the best attacks in Europe this season.

Liverpool famously restricted high-scoring Manchester City to just one goal over 180 minutes in the quarterfinals and the Reds will have to conjure up that heroic rearguard performance in order to stop the on-form Gareth Bale next weekend.

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Everton

Everton should offer Crystal Palace former player Yannick Bolasie to get Wilfried Zaha

Everton are keen on signing the Ivory Coast winger.

Mathew Coull

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Everton have today been linked with a move for Crystal Palace attacker Wilfried Zaha. The Ivory Coast international has been in fine form for the Eagles this season, scoring nine and assisting five goals in 29 appearances, and is being targeted by a host of clubs in the Premier League.

The Sun is now suggesting that Everton’s main managerial target Marco Silva wants the winger to be his main man and the club are putting together a £60 million deal.

(Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)

It is, however, a tough field in terms of transfer opposition. Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City are also keen on the player this summer. For Everton to get their hands on the player they will need to do something a little different and offering Palace a ready-made replacement could be the best option.

The player in question is Yannick Bolasie. If Everton want Zaha, then offering the DR Congo winger back to his former club might give them the edge over their competition.

Bolasie joined Everton in 2016 for a fee reported by the BBC to be in the region of £25 million. After a promising start to his career on Merseyside, a knee ligament injury saw him out of action for over a year. Since his return to action, the 28-year-old has struggled to find any good form, frustrating players with his inconsistent performances.

Many value the fact Bolasie can occasionally produce some magic. But if Zaha is around, he will be doing so on a more consistent basis.

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Offering him back to Palace would give the Eagles a ready-made replacement who knows the club. It would also help Zaha in his decision to leave Selhurst Park in good hands, as he clearly cares for his boyhood club.

There is also a school of thought that Bolasie’s presence at Goodison Park could help convince Zaha to come and play for the Toffees, given the pairs good relationship.

Either way, it is clear the £25 million star could play a pivotal role in Everton ensuring they are the ones to get their hands on Zaha this summer.

Fans will certainly hope that is the case, as Zaha would be a major signal of intent from Everton ahead of a new era at the club.

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Tottenham Hotspur

If Tottenham lose Christian Eriksen, Hakim Ziyech is a quality replacement

Tottenham Hotspur have been linked with the Ajax star this summer.

Mathew Coull

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Tottenham Hotspur will be hoping to keep as much of their squad together for next season after another impressive, but ultimately trophyless campaign. One player who it seems may be hard to keep hold of is Danish attacker Christian Eriksen.

The playmaker has perhaps just had the best season of his Tottenham career but has attracted interest with that form. Barcelona are looking to find a replacement for club legend Andres Iniesta, who is leaving the Nou Camp this summer. As reported by Don Balon this weekend, Barca have decided Eriksen is the man for that job.

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With Barca lurking, Tottenham will be fearful of losing their Danish star. But who would the club sign as his replacement?

One potential option appears to be Moroccan international and Ajax star Hakim Ziyech. Last week it was reported that Spurs were one of many clubs interested in the player by Italian outlet Calciomercato.

So could he replace Eriksen?

The obvious comparisons begin with the club from which Tottenham would be signing him. Eriksen also arrived at Spurs from Ajax and has certainly proved to be a success.

In terms of playing style, he is very much like the Spurs star. An intelligent player he reads the game brilliantly. His passing range is also excellent and he has shown that on numerous occasions for Ajax the past two season.

This season he has scored nine goals in 39 appearances but has also been an assist machine. The 25-year-old has provided an incredible 18 assists in all competitions this season and is set to be the focal point of Morocco’s attack at the World Cup this summer.

(Photo credit should read ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images)

With Eriksen gone, Tottenham would be in need of a similar assist king and Ziyech is young enough to continue improving whilst still offering much of what Eriksen does for Spurs.

Signing Ziyech whilst Eriksen remains at the club would certainly not be necessary. With Dele Alli also present, it would be overkill in the number 10 role at Spurs.

But should they reluctantly let Eriksen head to Spain, Tottenham would be right to sign the carbon-copy Moroccan from Ajax this summer.

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