Why Daniel Sturridge could resurrect his Liverpool career this season
Liverpool started with Daniel Sturridge as the central striker for their Champions League opener against Paris Saint-Germain. The club’s first-choice forward Roberto Firmino was forced to start from the bench due to an eye injury.
Incredibly enough, the experienced English international did not disappoint his manager and scored with a brilliant header in the first half to put Liverpool in the driver’s seat. It was the goal that changed the complexion of the game and tilted the balance in the Reds’ favour. Ultimately, Sturridge helped the Reds secure all three points in their kitty.
The win should come as a massive boost for the Merseysiders, given they were able to overcome a star-studded PSG team. The three points should definitely help them progress through the group stages since they have been drawn along with Napoli and Red Star Belgrade in a potential group of death.
The 29-year-old striker was a lively presence in the attacking third and linked up effectively with Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah. He impressed with his tireless running and troubled the defenders with some subtle and incisive runs behind the backline. His activity was not only confined to the attacking third as he also dropped deeper to carry the ball forward and drifted wide on occasions to support the play.
Sturridge was at the right place at the right time to head home the cross and had another golden chance to double his tally in the second half but he directed his header straight at the goalkeeper. He could have had another assist had the linesman not ruled his challenge on Alphonse Areola as a foul. At times, the former Chelsea and Manchester City man was guilty of wayward shooting and inappropriate decision-making but he was impressive for large quarters of the game.
Jurgen Klopp has used Sturridge as a substitute in four of Liverpool’s first five Premier League games and his game time has been limited to a total of 21 minutes in the league. But the 29-year-old has shown glimpses of his abilities.
He scored Liverpool’s fourth goal in the 4-0 win over West Ham United on opening day after coming on as a late substitute. Sturridge has recorded a pass success percentage of 93.3 in the Premier League which shows that he has managed to coordinate effectively with his teammates.
Sturridge, who currently earns £120,000-a-week, joined Liverpool back in the summer of 2012 and has made a total of 137 appearances for the Reds across all competitions, scoring 64 goals. He only made 9 appearances in the Premier League last season and was largely present in the squad as an understudy to Firmino.
The English international, who was left out of Gareth Southgate’s squad for the World Cup in Russia, currently finds himself behind Firmino as the second-choice striker at Anfield. His lack of game time in the Premier League in recent seasons has taken a toll on his international career as well.
Sturridge played for Manchester City and Chelsea in his earlier days but failed to consolidate his position at his former clubs. He was also a part of the Blues’ squad that tasted European glory in 2011/12. Hence, he has a lot of top-flight experience under his belt and Liverpool should look to make adequate use of his abilities. He is a valuable asset to the squad and he must play a supporting role, given that Liverpool are expected to excel at all fronts this season.
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Sturridge has shown strong signs of promise with some impressive performances and Liverpool should continue handing him regular minutes to allow him to resurrect his career.