Sturridge – Keep or Sell?

As ever it has been a chaotic summer transfer window for Liverpool this year. As expected, Jürgen Klopp is putting his stamp on the squad and as a result we are seeing many ins and outs at Melwood.

The busy summer has seen us bring in a lovely looking goalkeeper, a second goal keeper old enough to be the first goal keeper’s father and our obligatory one signing from Southampton to name a few. Whilst Klopp rings the changes one name we aren’t seeing a lot of is Daniel Sturridge. Last season it was widely discussed on social media and by the pundits as to whether Sturridge was a part of Klopp’s plans long term.

The general consensus was that he wasn’t. The general consensus was that he doesn’t press as well as the likes of Divock Origi and Danny Ings will, and that is probably true. The rumours were fuelled by Klopp leaving Sturridge on the bench when Divock Origi was firing last term, eventually bringing Sturridge into the side as Origi’s season was ended in the derby in April following an ankle injury.

Yet amongst the chaos of a usual Liverpool summer transfer window we are over half way into the window and there has been no talk of Sturridge leaving Liverpool. Sturridge is with the players in America and has taken to social media, saying that he is “Taking them steps and building the blocks to be in the best shape for the 16/17 season”. It seems as if Sturridge will be here next season and fighting for that central role with Divock Origi who emerged later on last season as a real threat to sides.

In my time following Liverpool, not many players have sparked up as much of a debate as Daniel Sturridge. Two words come to mind when I think of Sturridge, goals and frustration.

Everyone knows what Sturridge brings when available. Goals. He scores goals. He makes goals look easy. With his derby goal last year in the exhibition match against *them*, he became the fourth quickest Liverpool player post-war to get to the 50 goals mark. We’ve had a few decent forwards as well, y’know. His current goal record stands at 54 goals in 74 games for Liverpool. That’s a goal every 1.3 games. In perspective, Luis Suarez averaged a goal every 1.5 games and Fernando Torres averaged a goal every 1.6 games for the Reds.

Despite not only matching up to past Liverpool talisman’s records but surpassing them, Sturridge has never even come close to feeling the love Suarez or Torres received when at Anfield. When at the game, I’ve often heard shouts of ‘lazy’ or ‘he’s not bothered’. I think an accumulation of both his apprehension to go flat out when returning from injuries and his ice cool goal celebrations have given some supporters the impression he doesn’t care.

Whilst he doesn’t run his blood to water like Luis Suarez or kiss the badge like Fernando Torres (that ended well), I’ve never bought the idea that the lad isn’t bothered. You don’t shed a tear after a final defeat if your heart isn’t in it. You don’t run off waving your arms in the air like a mad man after a semi-final goal if you’re not interested.

Jürgen Klopp made clear to the press after the Georginio Wijnaldum signing that we are after goals. Wijnaldum and Sadio Mané were both two of the highest scoring midfielders in the league last year with 11 each. When fit, Sturridge gives you goals. Klopp knows this. Some players are worth taking a risk on and his goal record tells you that he is one of them. Hopefully a Klopp pre-season of triple sessions and gym-work will keep him fit and give us the goals we deserve and Sturridge the love he probably deserves.

Personally at the minute I’m leaning towards keeping him. In truth I’ve been undecided for a while now. It’s such an issue as he’s so good when he’s fit which makes it all the more frustrating when he is fit. I think the emergence of Origi last year has taken the pressure off him in a sense and if Sturridge misses much of next term (fingers crossed) we won’t go to pot. Personally I think he’s worth another year under a Klopp pre-season to prove his worth.

Written by Jack Mitchell (@jm97lfc)


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