Luis Suarez’s absence has brought about a number of positives in the Liverpool camp, one being the obvious desire from Daniel Sturridge to step forward and take responsibility at the tip of the attacking sword.
It’s far too early and certainly too much of a long shot to say that Sturridge is the internal solution to the Suarez issue over the short term. Despite holding a place at two big clubs in the Premier League is his career prior to Liverpool, the England forward has never really had an opportunity to show his worth on a regular basis, bar one season at Chelsea. Falling down the pecking order was routine at both Manchester City and Chelsea, though now there is a clear path for him to forge his own legacy at a club who are more than willing to place confidence and faith in him.
Sturridge’s two Premier League goals in two games hold a lot of promise. Whatever happens with Suarez and a possible replacement, Brendan Rodgers knows he has a forward in his ranks who is good enough to lead the attack and make a difference. But even the most optimistic of supporters shouldn’t over think the good performances thus far. We’ve seen nothing to suggest Sturridge is a striker capable of 30 goals in a season. His form may be good, and it certainly is, but is he the type of striker that will go through dry spells? We simply don’t know that yet. The almighty upside, however, is that he is still only 23 and already looks like a player who is completely at ease with the demands of playing for a top club every week.
What can also be said about Sturridge is that he is a player with a point to prove. As talented as he may be, he hasn’t delivered at international level with the England U21s or the Olympic team of last summer. He has his flaws, including his desire to go it alone rather than looking for a teammate. But the environment at Anfield currently is clearly one he can thrive off. The focus is elsewhere and the team are set up to offer younger players the opportunity to build towards something in the future. It doesn’t matter if he isn’t a 30-goal-a-season striker now, Liverpool are focusing on their youngest and brightest, and Sturridge clearly falls into the category alongside Coutinho.
The important factor of all of this is that the club cannot rely solely on Sturridge for goals. If he’s going to develop into a leading striker for a top club, that transition phase clearly needs to take place – a transition which is likely to happen this season and builds on his 10 league goals for the club last season. But supplementing the attack remains paramount to achieving the club’s objectives. Without Suarez, Liverpool have put together a run of six games in which they’ve only lost once. It can be done without the Uruguayan, but complacency shouldn’t be allowed to set in.
For now though, Strurridge looks to be fulfilling the potential that was so often held back in previous seasons. The clinical striker Liverpool need over the long term could certainly be sitting in house.
Is Sturridge good enough to take over the reins from Suarez over the long term?
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