The last month has been almost perfect for Liverpool Football Club. A drastic change in domestic form means that after teams above the Reds dropping points, they are right back in the scrap for qualification for Europe’s finest. Even better than that is the progress made in the Europa League at the expense of Manchester United. One cause for concern of late has been Daniel Sturridge’s almost dubious return from injury.
When it emerged that the Englishman would be returning from injury there was a lot of uncertainty floating around given his poor track record. The reason Liverpool fans get so brokenhearted when Sturridge gets injured is because of the ability he possesses. He showed during the 13/14 season what it would take to lead a team and what can be world class if he avoids injury often enough.
When it comes to comebacks there is no-one in world football more accustomed to making them than Danny Studge. The impressive thing about the manner in which he makes his return is it is often marked with a goal. He did it in the 13/14 season against Stoke with a brilliant run in behind, against West Ham last season and Southampton this term. He rarely needs a period in which to settle into a goal-scoring habit.
This knack for returning on-form and on song makes his quietness in recent weeks somewhat alarming. This season, with two injuries, he has managed 4 goals in 10 appearances. This is a goal every 2.5 games which isn’t very formidable compared to his Liverpool career strike rare of a goal every 1.6 games.
The season is heading into the stage where players begin to use cliches like,”every game is a cup final.” While this sort of phrase is somewhat irritating it is very true. This phase of the season is really crunch time and it is where titles are remembered for being lost. It’s where teams, er, slip up. Sorry Stevie.
I risk the wrath of all opposition fans and the most cynical Reds’ fans when I say that Champions League qualification is not beyond Liverpool. If the club were under the management of Brendan Rodgers I wouldn’t be fostering nearly as much belief or hope but that is what has become known as “The Klopp Effect.”
This phenomenon has fostered the love for previously exiled miscreants such as Dejan Lovren, Adam Lallana and Joe Allen – basically anyone Rodgers signed. Who knows, maybe Klopp can covert Mario Balotelli into the world beater we all know he can be.
If Klopp is to be successful in finding a route into the Champions League then a big part of that will be finding a way to flip the switch that triggers Sturridge’s goal scoring prowess. It’s a case of if not when. This is what Klopp does with players. He gives them the confidence to do things that couldn’t normally. Sturridge is incredible even though he seems to have a confidence complex.
Liverpool have a relatively straightforward run-in to the end of the season with the only challenges being Tottenham, Chelsea and Everton. The most difficult hurdle will be trying to defeat Borussia Dortmund, Klopp’s old side. If this is to be done Sturridge in goal-scoring form will be very important. When Klopp came to Anfield he spoke of how he wanted to make Liverpool fans dream. Believe, me Jürgen, we are dreaming.