I grew up in an era where Robbie Fowler burst on to the scene. A man who excited the fans and scored goal after goal after goal. A fearless young Scouser who would do anything for those on the Kop. We then had another youth product in the form of Michael Owen – another young kid who came in to the team and just loved to score goals.
Those are the memories I have as a kid, goals. I don’t remember the brilliance of John Barnes, the mazy runs of Stevie Mac on the wing or Mark Wright running the ball out from the back. All I remember is Fowler’s five against Fulham in the Coca Cola cup, his volley in the FA Cup semi against Villa, the hammer past Schmeichel at his near post and I could happily go on.
My point is, kids growing up love goalscorers. They want a hero who can fire their team to glory. I remember playing football in the street, scoring a goal, wheeling away to do a Fowler-esque celebration (not the Everton snorting one) and proclaiming that I was Robbie himself.
Who do the next generation have in this Liverpool team? It should be Daniel Sturridge, widely regarded as the best English finisher around at the moment. But why isn’t it?
I am, inevitably, going to talk about injuries. He just can’t get a run of games under his belt. He has 22 separate periods of inactivity due to injury since signing for the Reds back in 2013 and has missed as many games as he has played during that time.
With game time at a premium, it makes it difficult to make an impact. The youth of today won’t be patient in choosing their heroes. Out of sight, out of mind.
When he has been fit, he has still found playing time hard to come by. That is down in the main to the performances of BPM (Bobby, Phil and Mane – I don’t expect this to catch on like MSN but I tried). Klopp trusts this front three to deliver for him and who are we to argue?
They have been doing the business so far this season. It must surely be galling for Sturridge to sit on the bench as a man signed as a midfielder fills your position.
That is my next point. Firmino is in the team because Klopp likes him. We all like him. Our high press game requires someone up there who will do the dirty work and chase after defenders to put them under extreme pressure.
We all know Sturridge won’t do that, it isn’t his game. Even when he is fit not getting regular playing time, I am thinking he should be coming on and showing he is willing to do that work for the team to force his way in to the starting line up. He disagrees, clearly.
Klopp sees something in Sturridge though else I am sure he would have had the Sakho treatment but it just doesn’t feel like it is working at the moment.
So where does that leave Dan? Some people want to keep him, some people want to get rid of him whereas I am somewhere in the middle.
We would all love to have the Sturridge who caused havoc alongside Suarez when we came oh so close to the title but I fear we may not see that again. He has undoubted talent and still shows glimpses of what he is all about.
Look where we are though, chaps. We are one of the big boys again now. We can’t have passengers and we can’t have players who show glimpses. We need players who can deliver week in, week out and play in the manner that the manager wants us to play.
If we were offered £40 million or even £30 million for Sturridge, we would be stupid to say no. There are areas of the team we still need to strengthen and that money invested in the right way would massively outweigh the contribution that Sturridge currently offers.
Written by @AndyBradders