Almost 3 months ago, I wrote an article explaining how injuries had robbed Daniel Sturridge of a world class career (HERE). How times have changed.
The Liverpool forward has been immense for Liverpool so far this season. Reds fans have longed for his knees to remain intact and his return to the goal scoring heights of 2013/14. With Klopp possessing the most lethal forward line in Europe last season, an Anfield exit looked certain for the struggling striker. Instead, he has had a renaissance under the German manager in a role which perhaps he would never have envisaged.
Off the mark
Rather than being a starter and leading the line for Liverpool, Sturridge has been utilised as an impact sub by Klopp, making him less likely to suffer injuries and have an immediate impact on games as a fresh substitute. This turned out to be a stroke of genius from the get go with Sturridge scoring within moments of coming on against West Ham, tapping in from a corner with his first touch.
Rising to the occasion
A month later, Roberto Firmino suffered an eye injury against Tottenham, prompting Klopp to drop the Brazilian and start Sturridge for the following game. The game being a European clash against PSG in front of the Kop, no big deal. The former Manchester City forward had the chance to entertain Anfield once again and remind the Premier League of how good he is. He quite literally rose to the occasion, heading in Andy Robertson’s cross to open the scoring in the 30th minute and help The Reds come out as 3-2 victors.
Sturridge established he was here to stay with his fitness levels being greater than ever before. But the best was yet to come from the Englishman with two consecutive clashes against former side Chelsea, the first of which was in the Carabao Cup.
After a stalemate in the first half, Liverpool’s striker started the second half poorly missing a clear cut chance, reminiscent of Fernando Torres’ miss from years ago. However, he bounced back within minutes with an acrobat finish to give Klopp’s side the lead. Despite losing the game courtesy of Eden Hazard’s brilliance, Sturridge had once again proven that he is a big game player.
Once again The Reds had to face The Blues, but this time in the Premier League. 25 minutes into the clash at Stamford Bridge, Eden Hazard fired past Alisson, showing why he is the best player in the league. Liverpool’s front line was struggling in front of goal, with Mane, Salah and Shaqiri all missing chances.
With just minutes to go, Klopp needed a moment of magic and so he summoned Sturridge from the Bench. A first loss in the league was beckoning for The Reds, but the Englishman thought otherwise. On the 88th minute, Sturridge unleashed a magnificent curling strike from 25 yards out, past Kepa and into the side netting. From out of nowhere, he had rescued a point and come back to haunt his former side. Class truly is permanent.
To be continued?
It brings such joy to neutrals like myself to see Daniel Sturridge fully fit and better than ever before. A humble character both on and off the pitch, it’s difficult to dislike such a fine player. Injuries have robbed him 2-3 years of a superb goal scoring career. But now despite losing a yard of pace, he has adjusted to life as a rotation player and thrived in his role thus far. All we can hope now is that he remains fit under Klopp, so he can excel in the prime of his career.