According to Aaron Curry, Daniel Sturridge’s fine finish to the season is due to superb management by Jürgen Klopp.
Since joining Liverpool in 2013, it seems Daniel Sturridge has seen more of the treatment table than the pitch. With a staggering 15 injuries, he has never been able to cement a long-run in the first team which has left some fans disgruntled. However, he ended this turbulent campaign proving his quality on the pitch by finding the back of the net 13 times in 26 matches.
In the summer before the season had begun, Sturridge spent time undergoing rehabilitation for a hip problem in Massachusetts, treated by the medical staff of the Boston Red Sox. This was designed to ensure Sturridge could return to fitness for the start of the 2015/16 season. Unfortunately, this was never fully achieved as he returned for the sixth game of the season, only to be side-lined once again by another injury set back.
By this time, Brendan Rodgers had departed Liverpool and Jürgen Klopp had been appointed on a long-term contract. He was adamant that Sturridge would not be selected until he had trained for 10 full days to his highest ability. He stuck to his word.
Seeming to favour Roberto Firmino in a false-nine position and Divock Origi for his blistering pace and strength, Sturridge looked to have slipped down the pecking order. For a man who possesses such quality, it became a worry.
Rumours began to emerge that other clubs were interested in the prolific striker and he seemed to be unhappy with his role at the club. Fans were left in the dark as to whether Klopp was resting him, or whether he had become out of favour. As the season drew to a close, he eventually got his chance to impress the new boss.
From the end of March, he began to make appearances in almost all of the games making significant impacts in various ways. Such as goals against Villarreal and Sevilla in our thrilling Europa League journey, along with Merseyside rivals Everton, he reminded the fans of his worth. He presented the kind of form which made him one of Europe’s most-feared strikers alongside Luis Suarez in the 2013/14 season, but what was perhaps most impressive was his fitness.
With Christian Benteke surely on his way out of Anfield, this leaves Klopp with three different types of strikers to choose from – each with their own individual talents. Sturridge undoubtedly has the most notable goal threat having scored 53 goals in 92 appearances for the club. This gives him an overall goal return of 0.58 goals a game. This is an excellent ratio considering the amount of times he’s played at less than 100% fitness.
In terms of this season alone, Sturridge has averaged a goal every 131 minutes. In perspective, the league’s other talismen – Aguero, Kane and Vardy – achieved a goal every 121, 144 and 134 minutes respectively. This confirms Daniel’s status as a prolific goal scorer.
Personally, I feel as though Klopp has worked well with Sturridge, in order to decrease his chances of sustaining a severe injury. Adding to this, 41-year-old fitness coach Andreas Kornmayer will join Liverpool’s backroom staff from Bayern Munich in the summer. He is renowned for creating personal training programmes with certain players and Sturridge will more than likely be included within this.
In a bitter-sweet season for Sturridge, he can now look forward to a pre-season which includes the International Champions Cup and European Championship. These tournaments can be used to gain valuable minutes on the pitch, helping to regain his ultimate goal scoring form which all Liverpool fans know he is capable of.
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