Jamie Carragher believes that Daniel Sturridge needs to look at what Roberto Firmino is doing in order to improve.
Strangely enough, Sturridge is no longer Liverpool’s number one striker and this means that the Englishman needs to do something in order to improve. It’s not a case of Sturridge not having the requisite skills to succeed as a top-class attacker, but rather because of what others bring to the table that he doesn’t.
In this case, Firmino is a more suitable option in Klopp’s hyper-intensive pressing system. The Brazilian works tirelessly when out of possession in an attempt to retrieve the ball. This work ethic is something that appeals to Klopp and something that Sturridge doesn’t seem to offer.
It’s not that he can’t, it just seems like sometimes he can’t be bothered to sprint to get the ball back and would prefer to save his energy for when he’s on the ball. This doesn’t fly under Klopp and strikers like Christian Benteke, who is a highly capable forward, and Mario Balotelli have already been binned.
Jamie Carragher, via the Liverpool Echo, told ESPN, “At this moment Jurgen Klopp fancies Roberto Firmino in that central striker position. He is only playing one striker at the moment, which is a problem for Daniel.”
Looking back to the 2013/14 season and the short time Sturridge was partnered with Balotelli in the 2014/15 campaign, it’s clear that the Englishman is better suited to playing with a strike partner.
His partnership with Luis Suarez was not just about the link-up play but also the competition to be the best which drove Sturridge to prove himself. This is missing under Klopp due to the German’s preference for playing a lone striker.
Carragher continued, “Last season he was playing with two, so that’s something he has to think about. How can he improve? What is Firmino doing that he is not doing?
“Every manager sees it differently, but Klopp has gone for that one.
“Daniel Sturridge’s strike rate for Liverpool is outstanding. Up there with the greatest strikers Liverpool have had. We know he can do that, but perhaps Jurgen Klopp wants different things from him that Firmino can add.
“So maybe Daniel has to look at that and think where he can improve to get back into the team.”
While Sturridge may have scored 55 goals in his first 98 games as a Liverpool player, he will receive limited opportunities unless he heeds Carragher’s advice.
Klopp is unlikely to feature a formation which will allow for Sturridge to develop a strike partnership with anyone, so needs to work harder off the ball and reap the benefits of the gegenpressing machine Klopp is fine-tuning.
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