Liverpool fans were divided when the news broke that Daniel Sturridge was to join the club from Chelsea. Some fans were admirers of his pace, finishing, and potential to be one of the best English strikers around. Others though saw the Chelsea forward as greedy, selfish, and arrogant. But just 12 league appearances in a Reds shirt has silenced any doubters, where he’s quickly impressed the Anfield faithful.
With 8 goals in his 14 displays in all competitions, Sturridge has instantly repaid Brendan Rodgers’ faith shown to give the striker a last chance. After poor spells at both Manchester City and Chelsea, questions were starting to be asked about whether Daniel Sturridge could cut it at a top club. But since his January transfer to Anfield, the Englishman has proved why he rates himself.
Liverpool’s new number 15 has credited his performances to a new style of play. Speaking to Liverpool’s website, LFCTV, Sturridge revealed that he wasn’t focused on scoring goals in a red shirt:
“It’s great to score goals but the main factor when I joined the club was just to help Liverpool move forward. I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself to score goals because that’s the kind of person I am.
“I always put pressure on myself but I’ve stopped doing that so much now. If I score goals along the way then fantastic, if I get assists fantastic, but the main thing is for the team to get positives results and for us to come out of the season on a high.”
Some fans couldn’t imagine hearing Daniel Sturridge speaking like this just 6 months ago, highlighting the dramatic change in attitude the striker has had. But can his change in style be credited to Brendan Rodgers? The Northern Irishman is a firm believer in his teams playing possession football, with passing a priority for any side he manages. There’s no room for greedy footballers who are more focused on their own personal goal tally.
So Sturridge has immediately had to adapt to this new approach, and it seems to be working. Not only sounding more of a team player, but playing like one too. Before scoring 2 goals against Newcastle at the end of April, Sturridge unselfishly assisted Henderson to score the Reds’ 2nd instead of going alone. His third assist of the season, less than a week after his superb cross was turned in by Luis Suarez in the 2-2 draw with Chelsea. The English striker’s first glance when he got the ball was towards goal. But now, the forward is looking for teammates, and trying to get the team goals instead of just himself.
It seems somehow, Brendan Rodgers has managed to convince Danny Sturridge that it’s a team game, and so gone are the criticisms of being too selfish. Gone are the complaints of the forward being greedy and arrogant. And in there place are new praises of a 23-year-old who has dramatically raised his game since leaving Chelsea, and leaving his blues behind him in London. A crucial part of a team playing attractive, passing football, Sturridge has been completely changed by new manager Rodgers. The Northern Irishman has got the best out of his new striker, something Carlo Ancelotti, Andre Villas-Boas, Roberto Di Matteo and Rafa Benitez all couldn’t do.
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