There is no doubting the talent and skill that Daniel Sturridge possesses. He is simply a sublime player of enormous goal scoring threat, power and potency. Whilst once again he finds himself at a big club and on the fringes of selection, this time things seem rather different. With rumours of a January exit beginning to swirl, it is pertinent for all concerned to take a more realistic look at exactly where he stands with Liverpool. Both now and in the medium term.
It can be difficult to get a true read on a player’s commitment to his career and to a club. A history blighted by injuries and thus limited game time means that Sturridge is in the unfortunate position where he is continually questioned over both work ethic and willingness to fulfil his obvious potential. Yet that he remains in Jurgen Klopp’s plans, albeit mostly in the cups and off the bench right now, surely hints that Sturridge does in fact have the temperament and mentality required. Klopp is in a similar mould to Mauricio Pochettino at Spurs in that if you don’t put in the requisite work both on and off the pitch, then you simply won’t feature in the first team at all.
As so eloquently and accurately pointed out by This Is Anfield, Sturridge has shown in his glimpses of playing time that he still has an important role to play. Without the current treadmill of European competition, and with Liverpool in such a rich vein of goal scoring form, he simply needs to bide his time and continue impacting proceedings when given the chance. Of course since he now finds himself in a rare period of full health, it must be frustrating to not feature consistently in the starting eleven. But there will indeed come a time when this changes, and he will surely start games in the very near future. In the interim it remains a key role off the bench that Sturridge is performing right now. What a luxury to have a player of his ability come on and impact proceedings. Especially in the (currently rare) event that the Reds are unable to find a way through on goal. It’s a frightening prospect for opponents.
The question must be asked as to what Sturridge could achieve by moving clubs, that he cannot do so at Liverpool. Or in fact, what harm moving to another club could cause, and what he may miss out on during what threatens to be another exciting period in the club’s illustrious history. It looks likely that Liverpool will be competing in the Champions League next year, and it is also probable that one or two members of the squad will become injured this season. If either of those things occur, Sturridge is first in line to start. He would start at almost any other Premier League club of course, and again it simply comes back to the extreme quality of the dynamic attacking unit at Anfield that means he is not in the eleven right at this moment. At 27, he could now go one of two ways; assuming he is finally able to stay fit then he can form a key component of the push for success at Anfield.
The alternative is that Sturridge does indeed move on once more. Instead of fighting for a berth in a strong Liverpool side and potentially going on to play Champions League within the next twelve months. With no shortage of suitors, there are ample options both locally and abroad. But the likelihood is that this would mean a step down in status if he wishes to remain in the Premier League. Unless either Arsenal or Tottenham were to come in for him, and there is no guarantee they would, then Champions League football is unlikely to be an option. It’s a conundrum that really does not seem a conundrum at all; stay and fight for a place and success at Liverpool or head into the unknown or to a club with lesser prospects.
Contrary to reports in The Mirror suggesting that Sturridge is not wanted by Liverpool, he is in fact still very much required. The ball appears to be in his court, with apparent options of the likes of West Ham or Stoke. But this, and missing out on potential success, does not seem the right move at the current point in his career. Whilst his game time would no doubt be increased immediately, and he could certainly improve the fortunes of both clubs, the position that his current club finds itself in surely is motivation to remain and be a part of something great. Sometimes it’s necessary to look at the bigger picture, and for both Sturridge and Liverpool that picture does not even look too far away.