Daniel Sturridge put on another superb display against Swansea on Sunday afternoon with people now just starting to realise the talent this boy possesses. I’m not too sure how long purple patches normally last for, but Sturridge’s form for Liverpool is no flash in the pan. This recognition comes after the striker scored for the eighth consecutive game in the league, a statistic bettered only by Ruud Van Nistelrooy in the history of the Premier League. Since arriving at Anfield, he has now notched up 28 goals in 28 starts for The Reds, which is enough to rival past Liverpool greats as well as the best players around at the moment. Great news for Liverpool, potentially great news for England.
Sturridge showed once again how deadly he can be in front of goal and given Liverpool’s defence has been under scrutiny due to individual errors, coupled with Luis Suarez’s goal drought, he couldn’t have picked a better time.
Let’s start with the attacking stats. So we know that he scored twice, but having only had three shots in the whole match, it gives him an excellent chance conversion rate of 67%. Both of his goals were classed as clear cut chances giving him a 100% conversion rate in that department.
Sturridge also managed to create five chances from open play, at a rate of one every 15.8 minutes, including the assist for Jordan Henderson’s goal after some excellent footwork and trickery on the wing.
The key aspect to realise here is that good strikers thrive off quality service. Suarez and Sterling set up the goals for Sturridge to score and because of the understanding these players have with each other, it ends with devastating results. What Liverpool now possess in their front men is players that can create just as many as they can score. Although Luis Suarez has gone a few games now without scoring, he is still a menace in the final third and has provided a number of assists for Sturridge in last month or two, as has Sterling, showing the all round capabilities of the Reds’ strike force.
At the rate Sturridge has been scoring, there is little doubt that Liverpool will end the season with two players scoring 20 or more goals for the season. Incredibly, Sturridge has now scored 18 for the season in just 17 starts (19 altogether). You would think that with so many goals under his belt, he would need a fair few shots at goal to get to that tally. In fact, it has only taken him 60 shots to get to his 18 goals, giving him a chance conversion rate of 30%, meaning nearly a third of his shots hit the back of the net. When compared to the top strikers in the world, he comes up trumps, having better chance conversion rates than Aguero (25.9%), Messi (23.7%), Suarez (22.3%) and Ronaldo (17.6%).
Averaging roughly a goal every 83 minutes so far this season, Sturridge now has one of the best ‘minutes per goal’ ratios in Europe. This is again ahead of the likes of Ronaldo (84), Messi (95) and Ibrahimovic (97) as well as teammate Suarez (86). His minutes per goal ratio is bettered only by Aguero who averages a goal every 80 minutes. This is coupled with a fantastic minutes per goal involvement rate of 65 minutes, which includes goals and assists.
An interesting statistic which was available was that of Sturridge’s goal per game rate across his career. Having been scoring for fun for Liverpool, his goals per 90 mins rate has shot up to 0.69. Believe it or not, this is better than some of Liverpool’s greatest strikers in Fowler and Rush, as well as the likes of Owen, Torres and Suarez. In the history of the Premier League, this statistic is only bettered Aguero, Henry and Van Nistelrooy, indicating why Sturridge deserves all the plaudits he is receiving at the moment.
Can It Continue?
With Van Nistlerooy holding the record of goals in ten consecutive matches, who’s to say Sturridge can’t overtake that record or even better it? Having scored a mediocre 13 goals in 63 games for Chelsea (most of them being substitute appearances), he has now been given the chance under Brendan Rodgers and is blossoming into a talent which can only get better.
At only 24 years of age, Sturridge has the best years of his career left. Generally when English players are on this sort of form, they are expected to take on the world and end up not really fulfilling their potentially. However, with a team which is on the up, a manager which has all the confidence in him and the fans that seem adore his striking prowess, who knows what he can achieve. For now though he will have his sights firmly set on helping the team secure a Champions League place, or even more. After that, he can turn his attention to the biggest stage of them all: the World Cup.