At a time when many are suddenly experts on mental health issues in sport, there have been many lively discussions surrounding Liverpool and what might be the best ways for players to express their anger and frustration while on the pitch, if indeed it must be expressed on the pitch at all. Fans witnessed a master class in two anger management extremes on Sunday versus Chelsea, and it was substitute Daniel Sturridge who emerged as having made a more effective choice in channeling his feelings into his game.
"I was disappointed not to start because the manager would have known I was a bit angry with Chelsea and wanted to prove a point against them," Sturridge said after the match."It was strange playing against them because I only left three months ago so I kind of knew their weaknesses and what their team was all about."
"I was itching to get on and the team performed well in the second half," the striker continued. "We started attacking a lot more; in the first half we were a little bit defensive. The game opened up and we showed what we’re all about — it was good."
Having been sufficiently motivated by the prospect of facing his former club, Sturridge turned in a second half performance that is amongst the best played by a Liverpool player this season. Using ones aggressive feelings is a path to the Dark Side, of course, and Sturridge will need to find a way to summon the same unlimited power in matches where less is at stake than one's personal pride against a club that declared one to be surplus requirements.
Current circumstances dictate that Sturridge should get a nice run of starts between now and the end of the season, giving the striker ample opportunity to re-source his motivation from a more positive place and perhaps provide a good example to his team mates on how to achieve a positive outcome when faced with confusing emotions.