Daniel Sturridge: What Could Have Been
In the 2013/14 season when he scored 23 goals and almost took Liverpool to a first premier league title in 24 years, the world was at Daniel Sturridge’s feet. At 24 years of age, he was leading the line for Liverpool alongside Luis Suarez. He had proven his critics wrong from his inconsistent stints at Chelsea and Manchester City where he failed to set the world alight, as well as secured his place in England’s World Cup squad. That was the best it got for Sturridge and as of 2018, the once so highly rated and revered English striker destined for success has been forgotten by most. Why you may ask? Here’s the answer:
Daniel Andre Sturridge was born in Birmingham on 1st September 1989 and spent 4 years at the Aston Villa academy before moving to Coventry City. He signed for Manchester City shortly after representing them both at youth and senior level. He showed potential in his time at City winning Young player of the Year in the 2008/09 season, yet chose not to renew his contract, signing for Chelsea on a four year contract.
2009-2012 – Trophies and gaining recognition:
At Chelsea he was a rotation player thriving in the FA Cup, whilst scoring when called upon in the Premier League. 15 goals in all competitions was his best tally during his time at Stamford Bridge. His stint at the Bridge accumulated 2 FA Cups, a Premier League title and an UEFA Champions League, a trophy cabinet that footballers dare to dream of. However, Sturridge desired more, first team football to be exact. So in the January 2013 transfer window, he signed for Liverpool.
2013/14 – A sublime season:
In the second half of the 2012/13 season he played for Liverpool, Sturridge scored 10 goals in 16 Premier League games just a glimpse of what was to come from the clinical forward. In 2013/14, Sturridge’s numbers sky rocketed and his performances went from decent to world class. In a potent partnership with Luis Suarez, he thrived scoring 21 goals and laying on a further 7 assists in the league, only bettered by his Uruguayan teammate. He was named in the PFA team of the year and had surpassed expectations. He established himself as one of the Premier League’s most competent and clinical strikers. However, after a World Cup where his entire team under performed beyond belief, Sturridge’s career has never reached similar heights.
2014-2017 – Injuries and stagnation:
When a football fan is asked about Daniel Sturridge, their immediate and unfortunate response is injury prone. The frequent injuries he has sustained have overshadowed the quality and ability he possesses. His 2014/15 season was plagued by injury, suffering thigh and calf injuries before a hip surgery was required. Since then, he has never been the same. 2015/16 followed the same pattern with knee and hamstring injuries with an evident growing frustration from the Anfield faithful. Even with these injuries, he managed to score 13 goals in all competitions, a testament to his ability. However, Sturridge was falling down the pecking order, as Liverpool had lost patience.
2018-present – What the future holds:
With new signing Mohammed Salah alongside Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, Liverpool had filled the gap that Sturridge’s injuries and Phillipe Coutinho’s transfer had left. Sturridge felt surplus to requirements and went on loan to West Brom in January 2018. Yet in just his third appearance for the Baggies, the inevitable happened and he suffered yet another injury.
Regardless of the ridicule on social media with his horrific injury record, many fans have sympathy for a clearly talented, capable and proven Premier League striker. If he could have stayed fit a couple of years ago, Liverpool may have won the Premier League, and Sturridge could really have established himself on the world stage with the sky being his limit. At the age of 28, Sturridge is far from a young talent now but instead reaching his prime. His unfortunate luck with injuries has meant he has lost a yard of pace, however his technical ability and finishing is as good as it always has been.
He is still a Liverpool player, yet certainly not first team with the brilliance of Mohammed Salah and others. He has started pre-season strong and perhaps he still has a part to play in this Liverpool team. Only time will tell how Sturridge will fare. His 2013/14 form still lives in the memories of many Premier League fans, regardless of who they support. Neutrals like myself hope he can have a renaissance either under Klopp or any manager and return to the heights that he reached when he was fit. Although the title of this is ‘What could have been’, there is still time for Daniel Sturridge to turn this into ‘What could be’.