Daniel Sturridge: An integral part of Liverpool’s future


Daniel SturridgeRewind three months. Daniel Sturridge is an injury prone English forward who hasn’t lived up to his potential. It’s no real surprise. We’ve seen it a hundred times before: English players who drift in and out of the first team when they make the ‘Big Club’ move. We then sit back and watch their hunger, confidence and market value dwindle. Case study: Shaun Wright-Phillips.

So it was perhaps less of a surprise that Liverpool ‘overpaid’ again for one of these English hopefuls. After splashing out £70million on Carroll, Downing and Henderson (still makes me pinch myself), fans were ominously uninspired by the £12million punt on Sturridge. How wrong we were.

From this position, Daniel Sturridge has relit the fuse for his career with searing pace, classy touch and goals. Five goals in seven starts is more than solid, but it’s what he’s done to Liverpool that makes his transition all the more impressive.

He’s taken Suarez’s position, and earned it off him. This means Suarez can play deep, see more ball, and play with his front to goal. It suits Suarez perfectly. It’s exactly what he did for Ajax with Huntelaar when he scored 50 goals in a season. It’s a testament to Suarez that he’s done so brilliantly for most of the season playing as a lone striker.

Sturridge plays with his back to goal, and offers something in behind. Liverpool have been badly lacking this from the day Brendan Rodgers arrived. They dominated teams from the first day of the season, but rarely came away creating many chances, or more importantly, with any points. With Sturridge in the team, Liverpool have looked inherently more dangerous. They battered Norwich and Swansea 5-0, where earlier in the season they would have stumbled to a 0-0 draw. He’s made that much of a difference.

If anything can explain his immediate importance, it’s what happened when he wasn’t in the team. Liverpool lost 2-0 at home to West Brom, suffering from the same problems tha have plagued them all year: An isolated Suarez, a lack of pace, and an even bigger lack of men in the box.

Ian Rush, said, ‘Sturridge is great because he can score tap-ins.’ As brilliant as Suarez is, he can’t, and it’s the combination of these two which gives Liverpool an outside chance of a top-four finish this season.

Brendan Rodgers and Steven Gerrard predicted that this move would define Sturridge’s career. While this seemed a little much, it now appears to have been well placed. Perhaps more than define Sturridge’s career, the move could well define Liverpool’s fortune in the coming years.

I wonder if Chelsea fans would take a swap deal with the man who kept Sturridge out of the team; Fernando Torres? If they wouldn’t, they should.

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