Why Sunderland game is hugely important for this undervalued star

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Daniel Sturridge of Liverpool (L) chases Jay Rodriguez of Southampton (R) during the Premier League match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium on November 19, 2016 in Southampton, England.
All rights reserved by Clive Rose/Getty Images Europe

Dave Davis discusses how Liverpool’s game against Sunderland is important in Daniel Sturridge’s career on Merseyside.

The smart money right now would be on Daniel Sturridge still being at Anfield when the January window slams shut. This weekend will see those odds either increase or lengthen without doubt and with speculation continuing to mount, it will give us a real insight into whether it’s a possibility or not.

When Jurgen Klopp confirmed that Adam Lallana would be out for two or three games, Sturridge must have thought that would be his way in. A few goals and he could make it almost impossible to leave him out the starting line-up. Those ambitions took a hit, though when Wijnaldum was named as Lallana’s replacement against Southampton last weekend. Sturridge had been his replacement against Chelsea earlier in the season, so now he appears to be further down the pecking order.

Sunderland at home would be a game that we’d expect to win and handsomely in the current climate. Sturridge would fancy himself to bag at least one against a defence that has struggled all season and that John O’Shea will almost certainly be in. If he doesn’t start, don’t be surprised if rumours continue to ramp up over the weekend.

Liverpool have been linked with Southampton’s Virgil Van Dijk recently and Sturridge has been mooted as a makeweight in the deal. Additionally, the likes of Southampton and West Ham have been linked with a January swoop for the England striker with talk of a £25 million move being completed in the summer if Sturridge proves himself.

Tellingly, even at nil-nil against Southampton and having missed chance after chance, it wasn’t until the 78th minute of the game that Klopp actually turned to Sturridge. Not exactly a resounding vote of confidence that the former Chelsea man could change the game.

Klopp has already said that he has faith in this squad and he has players like Origi and Ojo who will be fresh for the second half of the season too. The German does have a ruthless side though and whilst it still seems unlikely that Sturridge will depart in January, this weekend could be quite telling.

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