Dave Davis explains why Liverpool are most likely to succeed if Daniel Sturridge is fit and firing.
Nothing breeds excitement and enthusiasm more than pre season. New signings are scrutinised, hailed as the next great and dismissed just as quickly. For all the talk of how a new keeper, centre half and right winger will improve us, if Liverpool are going to be successful they may need to keep one man fit.
Daniel Sturridge is the only player at the club with either a 1 in 2 record or a 20 goals plus season in the Premier League under his belt. Origi, Ings and Firmino all have a goal in them and they bring qualities that Sturridge maybe doesn’t, but none of them have the pedigree that the former Chelsea man carries. Support comes from the experts too with Jamie Carragher labelling him last season as “the second best striker in the league” behind only Sergio Aguero. High praise indeed.
The 26 year old’s stats stand up to any scrutiny and compare to any of the Anfield goalscoring legends. In an injury hit campaign last season, a return of 13 goals in 25 games is impressive. When you break it down further, the England man was bagging a goal every 130 mins. In his time at Anfield, 54 goals in 92 appearances is an incredible return for a man who cost only £12 million pounds.
Critics of Sturridge, and there are many out there have plenty to level against the player. Most of his time is spent on the treatment table and questions persist about the players mental strength and willingness to put his body on the line for the club. When he does play, a languid style puts him at odds with the high energy, hard pressing game we’ve become used to seeing under Klopp. The suspicion is that Klopp himself prefers Origi due to his physicality and ability to run the channels.
The simple fact is that Liverpool have only two world class players on their day right now – Sturridge and Coutinho. Klopp may feel he can have a lot of fun with Origi, but scoring regularly is a different matter altogether. Mane, Firmino and the rest of the supporting act can all chip in no doubt, but when a place in the top 4 is on the line, it’s Sturridge who is most likely to be the deciding factor.