In an exclusive interview with Rousing the Kop, James Pearce said that Daniel Sturridge’s future depends on a number of key factors with any bids for the forward likely to play a part in important decision-making.
Daniel Sturridge’s injury record has been a source of much frustration for Liverpool supporters in the past. The Englishman proved in the 2013/14 season, and in sporadic cameos since, that he is a prolific striker when fit.
And that’s the key to Sturridge’s issues as a professional athlete. As much as he possesses an impressive amount of natural talent, his body has let him down too often for him to be a reliable option at Liverpool.
Sturridge made just 20 appearances in the Premier League during the 2016/17 season, with 13 of these coming as a substitute. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that he scored just three goals in the Premier League all season.
In fact, in his five seasons with the Reds, Sturridge has never played 30 league games in a single season – averaging just 17.8 games per league campaign.
The fact that Sturridge’s presence in Jürgen Klopp’s squad is essentially a bonus at any given time, it’s no surprise that there have been calls for the Englishman to be sold this summer.
A brief injury-free run towards the end of the season has seen a rise in the number of people that want to see Sturridge remain at the club. But the fact that most of these people still want Liverpool to sign another striker is evidence to him being unreliable to play extensively for the club.
When I interviewed him, I asked James Pearce about Sturridge’s future at the club and he told me, “It’s a real dilemma for Klopp. Sturridge’s quality is beyond doubt but he just doesn’t play enough football. His injury record is a nightmare for the manager because you just can’t count on him.”
That’s the crux of the problem, though, isn’t it? The fact that you can’t count on him to be fit by the time the game rolls around at the weekend is a serious problem to encounter as a manager trying to build a team capable of challenging for top honours.
So what do you do with a player that only plays half of your league games due to injury? Do you sell him for as much as you can? Do you seek expert medical help (Liverpool have been doing this for years)? Do you keep him on at the club and hope it all goes away and he becomes the player you know he can?
James Pearce said that he thinks you could argue a case for keeping Sturridge at the club but make it clear that he’s not top dog – even if he’s fit. With Roberto Firmino and Divock Origi paragons of professional fitness, Sturridge can’t expect to return from injury all the time and usurp the pair.
The Liverpool Echo reporter said, “There is a case to be made that Liverpool should keep him as a squad player and almost treat his availability as a bonus. But £150,000 per week is a lot to be paying a squad player. Also, I’m not sure Sturridge will want to stay if he’s not going to be a regular.”
That’s another issue that you encounter. With Daniel Sturridge’s undeniable ability, he might not be willing to accept a squad role if he feels he would be given more playing time at another club. Yet, you can’t help but wonder, which big club, and Sturridge would want to be at a big club, would want to take an expensive risk on Sturridge?
There has been talk that West Ham would be interested in signing Sturridge, but the fact that the Hammers bought an injury prone forward from Liverpool before might mean that particular story carries little weight.
With Sturridge considering his future ahead of a monumental season for Liverpool, James Pearce believes that the forward will need to consider all his options.
Pearce told Rousing the Kop, “I think much will depend on what offers come in for him. There could well be a deal on the table that suits all parties. Putting a value on Sturridge is tough. When fit, he’s a £50 million striker but Liverpool would be lucky to get half that for him.”
Personally, I have a deep-seated desire to watch Daniel Sturridge play for Liverpool consistently. I want to see Daniel Sturridge playing without reservation, without holding back. His fear of injury has led to him becoming a player who plays to 70% of his maximum at any given time.
I want to see Daniel Sturridge dance for Liverpool week in and week out because, at the end of the day, he plays The Liverpool Way. He’s poetry in motion and could help the Reds achieve what was so nearly achieved in the 2013/14 season.