What a shame, Daniel Sturridge doesn’t really like playing out wide. I’m not really sure why Sturridge’s comments even made the news, it’s no secret that strikers are constantly being annoyed at being shifted out to the wing, but with Sturridge it seems to be a bigger story. He’s regularly been deployed in that position throughout his career yet, somehow, it seems like a bigger injustice when he is. But he’s better through the middle, they say.
— Rich McCarthy (@VJRichMcCarthy) August 25, 2016
Yeah, but so is Divock Origi and so is Roberto Firmino. The difference is that they have developed their games to bring other elements that benefit the team. Or, in the case of Firmino, have adapted to that position from a deeper role. Jurgen Klopp clearly wants energy and fluency from his Liverpool side and, sadly, Daniel Sturridge often looks to have the energy of a bloke running the London Marathon in a scuba suit.
This isn’t to say that Sturridge isn’t a really good player. He’s a brilliant finisher, definitely. It’s just that you need to be more than that if you want to demand playing time in the position that you view as your own. It’s still a conundrum for Klopp, though – Liverpool would create fewer chances with Sturridge in the central role, but there is little doubt that they would convert more of the ones they did make.
Ultimately, though, Sturridge is playing a game. At this stage in his career, he needs Liverpool far more than they need him. He is no longer the central figure that he was for a stage under Brendan Rodgers, with the injuries having given the likes of Coutinho and possibly now Sadio Mane to take over as the Kop’s poster boys. It’s up to Sturridge to prove that he still has enough to offer.
It’s not as if he has much choice, either. It’s hard to see where Sturridge could go if Liverpool did decide that he wasn’t worth the hassle. None of the other big English clubs really need him, he does feel a little bit like an Arsenal player, but they are rarely short for inconsistent and injury prone attacking talent.
Would moving abroad be an option? Probably not. Liverpool are still likely to demand a significant fee for Sturridge if he were to leave, more than the majority of Europe would be willing to pay for someone still unproven outside of the Premier League and for longer than a couple of bursts of form.
Daniel Sturridge looking delighted on the touchline… pic.twitter.com/3d3LOSierF
— BigSport (@BigSportGB) August 27, 2016
We’re coming up to the critical stage of Daniel Sturridge’s career, perhaps his last chance to rescue the disco dancing, free scoring superstar who nearly helped to carry Liverpool to an unlikely title win. Scowling on the touchline and sounding off about his position, though, aren’t going to help his case. It’s time to grow up.