Daniel Sturridge has endured a rocky 2016, with a return to fitness but no return to the starting lineup.
A huge difference between Jurgen Klopp and Brendan Rodgers was the latter’s over-reliance on Sturridge to deliver in order for his team to deliver. When the Northern-Irishman was Liverpool manager he would play Sturridge whenever he could and this has taken its toll on the Englishman’s fitness and ability to sprint as fast he could in the past.
A theme this season, amidst the optimism surrounding Liverpool’s great start in the Premier League, has been that Sturridge doesn’t seem entirely happy or content with his squad role, and can you blame him? Just three years ago he was an important part of a team that went within three points of winning the league title and it would be bizarre if he was happy to sit on the bench given the quality he has.
Last night against Tottenham, however, he looked bright, fast and happy. Alright, for his first goal, his celebration was quite low-key but for his second, his trademark dancing celebration made a return.
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While it may seem pretty difficult, if Klopp can find a way to get the best out of Sturridge and not compromise his fast-paced, high-pressing style of football then Liverpool will be even more of a threat.
19 of Liverpool’s 20 Premier League goals this season have been scored by players who are natural midfielders and if Sturridge was up top in a system that exploited his best skills it would only mean more goals. The trick is finding a way to play him without compromising the balance of the team.
Liverpool’s next fixture in the Premier League is a tricky visit to London to face Crystal Palace and if Klopp hands Sturridge a start it would do well to keep his confidence high which is a huge factor in the Englishman playing well. He’ll more than likely start from the bench but Klopp may opt to reward Sturridge for his goalscoring form.
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