Daniel Sturridge’s career could be coming to an end at Liverpool as his lengthy injury spell seems never ending. Klopp may be forced to give up on the England international whose strike partnership with Luis Suarez almost led the Reds to Premier League glory in the 2013-14 season.
Many footballers have experienced short-lived careers, hampered by injuries, including Liverpool’s own Michael Owen and Jamie Redknapp. But not all have wasted away on the sidelines. Aaron Ramsey is the Premier League’s latest to make an impressive comeback following a serious injury and there’s plenty of other big names to have achieved the same.
Sturridge himself has already recovered from injury in the past in dramatic fashion. Before joining Liverpool, the striker was on the books at both Chelsea and Manchester City. He missed a total of 21 games for both clubs, spending 79 days on the treatment table during his injuries. Many saw it as a bit of a gamble when Liverpool invested in the England striker but it was clear there was talent. Granted, Sturridge has spent a total of 364 days – almost a year in total – absent from the pitch whilst at Liverpool and he’s missed a further 75 games for them. But his goalscoring record in games played (44 goals in 73 games) is impressive and the striker still has five trophies in his career cabinet.
Aaron Ramsey’s return to fitness has been the most recent success story and he has enjoyed impressive campaigns with Arsenal in the last few seasons. When Ramsey broke his tibia and fibula bone in his leg in a horrific tackle back in 2010, many believed it unlikely he’d return with the same amount of quality he possessed in his youth. His freak injury saw him miss 252 days and 30 games for the Gunners. He came back in the 2011-12 season and played 34 games but failed to make any real impact from midfield, only netting twice for the entire campaign. It was much the same story the following season, where he notched 36 appearances – the majority from the bench – and scored only 1 goal.
It wasn’t until the 2013-14 season when he really came into his own, scoring ten times in 23 appearances and was vital in the Arsenal midfield. His form took Arsenal to the top of the table in the opening months of the season before they fell behind Manchester City and Liverpool in the new year. He netted another 6 times last season in 29 appearances and has made a steady start to this season, scoring 3 times in 12 games.
Ramsey isn’t the only Premier League star to have made a surprising recovery. Before Sir Alex Fergusen signed Ruud Van Nisterooy, the Dutch striker suffered a severe knee injury and Manchester United were forced to call off the £19 million pound transfer. He had been top goalscorer of the Dutch league for the previous two seasons and despite missing almost the entire of the following campaign, Fergusen went back for the striker in the summer. He spent five seasons at Manchester United and was hugely successful – scoring 150 goals in 219 games; 53 goals in two seasons for Real Madrid came when he left Manchester in 2006 and those goals helped the Spanish giants claim back-to-back league titles.
Another Arsenal man, Robert Pires, is one of the best midfielders to put on the red and white shirt but he suffered a serious knee injury in 2002 which forced him to miss the FA Cup final, the run-in to the Premiership title and the World Cup finals. After eight months out, Pires returned and enjoyed huge success with Arsenal with “The Invicibles” team which created history and gave Arsenal it’s most successful period. He went on to win two Premier League titles, three FA Cups and two Community Shields with Arsenal before leaving in 2006 to join Villarreal.
Jonas Guitierrez’ comeback for Newcastle United was heroic. The winger recovered from testicular cancer in March 2015 to make his first appearance for the club since April 2013. After having surgery in Argentina to remove his left testicle, the Toon hero underwent chemotherapy. After over a year out of football, Guitierrez made an appearance for Norwich City in April 2014 whilst on loan during his recovery. He was welcomed back with tremendous support from the Geordie fans and enjoyed his own glory, scoring in a 2-0 victory against West Ham to help Newcastle avoid relegation. He ended his career shortly afterwards after spending seven years with the club but he claimed he wasn’t treated well and since spoke about his disappointment.
Whether it’s overcoming cancer, ACL injuries or broken legs, there’s plenty to suggest Sturridge could make another fine return from injury. But is his time up?