Daniel Sturridge's early season form has been nothing short of remarkable, with a terrific goalscoring record and a newfound maturation that's allowed him to lead from the front for the first time in his career. Part of that has simply been the fact that he finally has the opportunity, but there's also the sense that he's developed as a person and a player since arriving at Liverpool, and that both club and player are better off for it.
Unfortunately that development hasn't included a newfound fitness; dogged with injuries throughout his young career, he's missed extended spells through the spring and summer, fighting to get fit just to start--and score match-winners--in each of Liverpool's first three league matches. So news that he was struggling with fitness again this week wasn't entirely surprising, but the extent of the damage, revealed this morning by James Pearce at the Liverpool Echo, is not good:
Huge blow for #LFC with confirmation that Sturridge is out for 6 to 8 weeks.— James Pearce (@JamesPearceEcho) December 1, 2013
That's all of December, obviously, as well as reverse fixtures against Hull, Stoke, and Aston Villa. If everything goes to plan, he'll make it back for the derby at the end of January, which means he will have missed 10 league matches in total, as well as Liverpool's opener in the FA Cup. Just bad, bad news to start Sunday. A comfortable Liverpool win would go some ways to improving sentiment, but there's no denying this is news that is going to have a massive impact.