Despite missing much of February through injury and at times seeming to struggle to find his best form since, Daniel Sturridge has still managed to score eight goals in 14 games since arriving at Liverpool. Perhaps more surprising than the goals themselves, though, has been that he's managed to score them while appearing a less selfish player than at any point in his time at Chelsea.
On occasion Sturridge can still maddeningly choose to shoot or hold the ball when better options are available, but since arriving at Anfield any selfishness in the final third has only matched what one would expect to see from any striker. The first option may still be to shoot, but at least he now appears willing to entertain the notion of a second option existing.
"It’s great to score goals but the main factor when I joined the club was just to help Liverpool move forward," he said of his efforts to embrace a more team-oriented game since arriving on Merseyside. "I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself to score goals because that’s the kind of person I am. I always put pressure on myself but I’ve stopped doing that so much now.
"I’ve just tried to focus on helping the team win games and to work as hard as I possibly can on the football field because if I do that then all the natural things that I do on the pitch will come out. So my mentality now is to ensure I am in shape and at my best to be able to help the team. If I score goals along the way then fantastic, if I get assists fantastic, but the main thing is for the team to get positives results."
It's an approach that seems worlds apart from the me first player he became known as by the time his days at Chelsea were coming to an end, though in retrospect it seems clear his game wasn't helped by being stuck down the pecking order for most of his time at the London club and feeling as though he had to wow the world every time he stepped on the pitch.
For a striker, it's easy enough for "impress" to turn into "score" and for that need to turn into a reputation for selfish play that at times seems detrimental to the team's chances. So while he may at times still shoot when passing would be the better option, it would be nearly impossible to find a quality striker anywhere for whom the same could not be said.
It's hard to imagine Sturridge ever passing up a good shooting opportunity, but it's just as hard to argue he doesn't seem a far less selfish player at Liverpool than he did at Chelsea—and for both the player and his new club this has already shown signs of being a very good thing for their future prospects.
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