What was supposed to be an occasion to celebrate has become one to lament, with one striker on the outs and another reportedly a doubt for the start of Liverpool's 2012-2013 season with ligament damage in his right ankle. Daniel Sturridge was on the wrong end of a challenge from Stoke City's Glenn Whelan during the first half of the 1-1 draw with Ireland earlier in the week and subsequently withdrew from England's trip to Brazil, and now the club have reportedly learned that the injury could be one that leaves them without the striker's services as the new campaign gets underway.
The deal for Iago Aspas--which is supposed to be announced very shortly--will provide cover and depth, and so long as Fabio Borini makes it through the summer unscathed, there's at least two forwards that we know will be available and can operate centrally. And as long as Suarez sticks around the discussion contains far less worry and anxiety; Sturridge's presence was felt throughout the spring, with 11 goals in his 16 appearances, but the Uruguayan can and should be able to lead the line without the young Englishman as a partner once he returns from his ban, though Sturridge will likely be back by that time.
With Suarez not a certainty (and banned if he stays anyway), though, it's more than a little reminiscent of last season, when Liverpool found themselves shorthanded in attack as the summer window ended. They're again looking to offload Andy Carroll regardless of the concerns about depth, and while they seem to be in a much more comfortable spot as far as adding depth goes, there's always the lingering concern that the squad's left scrambling for cover.
I think it's far too early for that, and for now we can settle for the negative feelings being only disappointment for Sturridge, who had been set up to work his way into the England fold for the first time in his professional career, and anger towards Whelan because Stoke. Now Sturridge will not only have his opportunity to break through snatched away, but is left staring down a summer of rehab and very likely a late start to his first full season in a Liverpool shirt.
Hopefully the work needed for full recovery can be accomplished over the next two months, but if not we'll have to be patient to make sure that a player who's struggled with injury concerns off and on throughout his career--and in his first few months with Liverpool--is pronounced fully fit.