When Liverpool lost their enigmatic striker Luis Suarez to Barcelona last summer, it was expected the mantle of striking responsibility would move on to his more than able deputy Daniel Sturridge. However, a year after the Uruguayan’s departure, Sturridge has failed to have the impact he would have desired, injuries have continuously and consistently held back the England international.
Sturridge has struggled to get any sort of run of games together and it has hurt both his team and the player greatly. With the striker having again been ruled out for a number of games, questions are beginning to be asked.
As Brendan Rodgers prepares to complete a rejuvenation of his faltering Liverpool team, a striker appears to be pivotal to his summer shopping. Can Daniel Sturridge still be relied upon to lead the line at Anfield?
The partnership that Suarez and he struck up last year took Liverpool to the precipice of the unthinkable, bringing the league title back to Merseyside after nearly two decades. Sturridge managed to net 21 times in a blistering season where only his strike partner outscored him. However, this term only 18 times has the former Chelsea and Manchester City forward managed to be fit enough to perform for Rodgers’ team.
In his limited time this campaign he has still shown the kind of abilities that finally saw him realise his potential last year. His performance at White Hart Lane was a particular highlight of his turbulent season where he and Mario Balotelli tore Spurs to shreds in one of the few times Liverpool have resembled anything like the attacking force they were last year.
His manager still clearly rates him, as do the adoring fans on The Kop, but as the niggling injuries continue to eat away at his time on the pitch, Rodgers has sent out the first signs that his patience may be wearing thin when he said “I need a striker who will be playing at the top level every week.”
Now this is not to say Sturridge’s time at Liverpool is coming to a close, far from it, but the time may be coming where the 25 year old cannot be trusted as Liverpool’s main man. As Rodgers has recently alluded to, for all of his striker’s abilities, he has not been able to showcase them consistently enough to truly be classed as one of the elite strikers in the division.
It took the move to Anfield for Sturridge to finally feel like he was important to a team, no longer a man on the peripheries, shipped out into positions he derides. It is a cruel twist of fate, or several of them in fact, that may lead to him again being a man on the edge.
His form at Liverpool has earned him more time before he is completely ruled out, but this summer’s transfer dealings may show the willingness his manager still has to invest in the man that helped take him so close to the greatest prize in English football.