Daniel Sturridge is one of the most naturally talented players of his generation, but injuries have ruined his peak years as a footballer. At the age of 28, he returns to Liverpool as a squad player after a poor loan spell with West Bromwich Albion. It was expected that he would leave Anfield permanently this summer, but he has featured in pre-season and Jurgen Klopp has suggested that he has a role to play for the Reds. A fit and sharp Sturridge would certainly boost Liverpool’s title ambitions, so much so that many Liverpool supports would be keen to take up the pointsbet sign-up offer with greater confidence.
In an interview with the official club site, Klopp spoke about how Sturridge can be ‘a very decisive player’ for Liverpool and supporters will be excited about having the striker back in the squad. At times last season, the Reds suffered due to a lack of options on the bench to change a game. Their first-choice attack worked 99% of the time, but when it didn’t, there wasn’t the quality on the sidelines to change a game.
Dominic Solanke was the player that Klopp turned to as he made 21 appearances in the Premier League, 16 of which were as a substitute. He contributed only one goal and one assist. It would be unfair to criticise the 20-year-old as he is inexperienced at the highest level and it can be difficult to make an impact in a cameo role. A player that has been on the books of Chelsea and Liverpool undoubtedly has talent, but he needs to gain experience and build his confidence at a lower level.
On the other hand, Sturridge is a proven Premier League goal-scorer capable of striking fear into an opposing defence as a substitute. The dynamism and pace of the Liverpool attack tires out opposition teams. If he is fit, the 28-year-old striker could be devastating at killing games off late on.
Despite his inability to feature regularly for Liverpool since his excellent 2013/14 season, he has continued to score goals when he has been on the pitch. Since then, he has scored 17 times for the Reds in the Premier League, with a strike rate of one every 172.3 minutes. His finishing ability has never been in doubt and it could be an asset this season.
In addition to being a goal-scorer, Sturridge is a player with individual quality and he is capable of producing a moment of magic at a crucial time. He is a match-winner and teams competing for major honours need several of these. Liverpool needed to add a couple to their bench this season so Klopp has the ability to change a game. Xherdan Shaqiri was one and Sturridge can be the second.
Liverpool has become one of the most dangerous attacking teams in Europe under Jurgen Klopp and it would be unlikely that Sturridge could become a regular starter once again. His injury problems mean that his body wouldn’t be able to cope with playing twice a week at high intensity. However, if managed correctly, he can still contribute to the team in a positive way.
There will be interest in Sturridge from other Premier League clubs, but if Liverpool are serious about challenging for the title this season, they need to keep him at Anfield.