Daniel Sturridge is going through a highly strange period in his Liverpool career. Since the departure of Luis Suarez, Liverpool’s struggles have always been attributed to Sturridge missing due to recurring injuries. It was only natural to assume that if Liverpool were succeeding and Sturridge was fit, the striker would be playing a considerable part in that.
Jurgen Klopp’s side are flying high in the league. They went into the November international break on top of the table, which was the first time they were on top of the table since the heartbreaking tie against Crystal Palace back in 2014. The number of goals they have been scoring is largely the reason for their brilliant form this season since the defence is still coming short.
Sturridge, however, is playing no part in this. Klopp has opted for the attacking trident of Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané, and this is working brilliantly for the side. The three have been continuously supplying the goals, and are leaving little to be desired.
This complicates things for the strikers, however. Divock Origi is young and will bide his time patiently waiting for a chance on the sidelines, which is fair, and what is expected. Daniel Sturridge, however, is 27. He needs to be playing games, and it is equally appropriate that he is getting frustrated being out.
At the same time, is there anything that can be done by Liverpool to curb his frustrations? Klopp’s tactic of fielding Firmino up top with Mané and Coutinho on either side is working wonderfully. Firmino is more suited to his system despite not being the fastest. He involves the rest of the attack and makes sure he’s not isolated up top. While Sturridge is quicker and flexible to move out wide and get involved with the other attackers, he still doesn’t offer the same advantages that Firmino does, at least as much as Firmino does. What is making things even worse for the England international is that the time he does get in Premier League games, albeit from the bench, he is not able to find the back of the net in that time. Against Watford in the previous match, Sturridge almost scored a hat-trick despite coming off the bench in the second half. He was cruelly denied by the post two times. Had he got that elusive goal, he would gain confidence and have a reason to demand a starting spot from Klopp. As of now, he still doesn’t have any ground to ask for the same.
What is making things even worse for the England international is that the time he does get in Premier League games, albeit from the bench, he is not able to find the back of the net in that time. Against Watford in the previous match, Sturridge almost scored a hat-trick despite coming off the bench in the second half. He was cruelly denied by the post two times. Had he got that elusive goal, he would gain confidence and have a reason to demand a starting spot from Klopp. As of now, he still doesn’t have any ground to ask for the same.
Daniel Sturridge is an exceptional striker. When he is fit, there are not many strikers that are above him in terms of sheer goalscoring ability. He also possesses the knack of firing immediately after coming back from injury. This, hopefully, is an aberration for the rest of his career.
Some rumours suggest Liverpool have put a price tag of 28m GBP on Sturridge. This seems a fair amount for the striker, especially given how injury prone he has proven to be. If a team comes in with that sum or more, Liverpool could go on and accept it. However, doing this in January could turn out to be extremely careless and risky.
Considering how things have gone, Liverpool are in the mix to win the league, and their minimum aim without any European involvement this season, will be to finish in the top 4. To do so, they need a quality squad, and Sturridge’s presence plays a massive role in the same. If any of the attackers gets injured, Klopp knows he has the services of Sturridge to rely upon.
The sight of Adam Lallana leaving the field early for England, and rumours of Coutinho being a doubt for the Southampton clash served as a timely reminder of how quickly the situation could change for any Liverpool player. Both the players have been exceptional this season, and their knocks could have been a huge blow for the Merseysiders, just like Sturridge’s have been in the past, but it won’t be as critical simply because of the quality Klopp has at his disposal. As mentioned before, Sturridge plays a massive role in that.
The season is not even halfway through so far and the manager needs options. Sadio Mané will go for the Africa Cup of Nations in January, which given how well he has performed so far, will be difficult for the Reds. However, having Sturridge in the squad means Mané’s absence may not be keenly felt because the Reds have someone with the same quality to count on.
Sturridge offers Liverpool a lot of options and it is imperative Liverpool don’t take a hasty decision of shipping him out this winter.