Only Luis Suarez, Cristiano Ronaldo, Diego Costa, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are ahead of Daniel Sturridge in the race for the European Golden Shoe. Those players ahead of him are either top players, top top players, or top top top players. Just ask Jamie Redknapp. Like Suarez, Sturridge is having an incredible season averaging almost a goal a game. In the Premier League, Sturridge is averaging a goal every 83 minutes. That's better than Luis Suarez's average of a goal every 85.7391304348 minutes! Only in three games against Arsenal, Fulham, and Southampton did any defence evade tasting the sharp end of Sturridge's boot. Roy Hodgson will be beaming at the possibility of pairing Rooney with Sturridge at the World Cup with this kind of form.
It's always good to start by gloating and there were few who were championing Daniel Sturridge's potential signing for Liverpool in the autumn of 2012. At the time, Liverpool were in need of a striker to help Luis Suarez and only a then 17 year-old Raheem Sterling looked like the Uruguayan's sole support in attack. Andy Carroll had been loaned out to West Ham and Liverpool's deadline day woes under Rodgers had their first entry with the failure to sign Clint Dempsey from Fulham. Sturridge was a mooted permanent signing but many thought a loan would be in order for the 23 year-old to prove himself. When he asked for what seemed to be sizeable wages, many were perplexed that a player who was unproven would ask for such remuneration at this stage.
The problem that many overlooked was that Daniel Sturridge had always scored goals when given regular football and was a player of immense talent, mobility, and flair. Was he selfish when presented with any potential scoring opportunity? Yes. Was he a player who needed to prove himself worthy to the Liverpool faithful? Yes. Did he frustratingly hold onto the ball too long at times? Put another tick in the yes column. However, Sturridge was a player I followed keenly and always rated highly. I was certain that he would be a success at Liverpool and it is pleasing to see that he has been more than what I even expected. He has been clinical, consistent, reliable, honest, humble, fun, and excellent value for money. January 2013 remains a golden transfer window that may never be replicated. It brought us our very own unicorn but it also brought us our merciless Unicron in front of goal.
Sturridge has always scored goals whenever he's played regularly. It may sound like vapid "football-speak" but it's true. A loan at Bolton brought 8 goals in 12 league appearances under Owen Coyle and the Brummie flourished under AVB as right-sided forward and ended with 11 in 30 in the league even if his form tailed off at the end of the season as he saw fewer minutes under Di Matteo. He may be close to one of my sweethearts (I forgive you Danny) and he may sound a tad overconfident about plans to release an instructional dance video ahead of the World Cup (cheeky Danny) but that's what strikers do. They score. Confidently.
This season has illustrated one unedifying feature of being a Liverpool supporter. No matter what happens elsewhere, our performance in the league will always haunt us. That lack of performance has failed to bring a league title since 1990. Our rise this season and the goals we've scored comforts us immeasurably. We no longer need to worry about scoring goals. Suarez and Sturridge are enough. With Gerrard and Sterling posting decent league numbers in front of goal, Coutinho and Henderson making goalscoring contributions recently, and good creativity and understanding (when attacking anyway) within the front six...goalscoring isn't a problem. Sturridge is a significant part of that.
We had Rush, Fowler, Owen, and Torres. Now we have Sturridge and he brings the greatest currency in football: goals. 28 of them in 33 league games. The second man in Premier League history to score in eight consecutive matches along with Ruud Van Nistelrooy (95 league goals in 150 matches and 150 in 219 matches for United). 32 goals in 39 matches for Liverpool in all competitions. He doesn't have his own song, he's not as good as Luis Suarez (not many in world football are right now), and he's not a Brazilian number ten to fantasise about. He may wear the number 15 shirt but make no mistake...Daniel Sturridge is Liverpool's fearsome number 9.
Daniel Sturridge - 2013-2014 HD First 25 Goals for liverpool (via TMBouncing)