Daniel Sturridge is likely not having the season he’d been hoping for. He’d finally started the season fit and ready, but instead of slotting into the first team, as many assumed he would, he’s been relegated to a spot on the bench while the likes of Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane run rampant in the league.
The EFL Cup was a chance for him to shine and once again prove his worth to the Reds team, and he took full advantage. Sturridge scored a brace against Spurs on Tuesday evening, earning Liverpool the win and propelling them into the next round of the EFL Cup. He was quick and enterprising, taking advantage of an inexperienced Spurs team and expertly leading the line for the Reds in a way that will feel very familiar to most watching.
After the game, Sturridge said of the team’s victory: “We had a lot of chances and played some good football. I think we deserved it in the end. It’s a nice feeling. I’m grateful to God for helping me get through all the things I’ve had to go through. I’m happy with tonight.”
Regarding his two goals on the night, he went on to explain, “When you have a lot of time when you’re through one-on-one, it can be easier sometimes. It’s difficult if you think too much. The first one was instinctive – I thought he was going to pass it before and I just tried to react to his shot. Luckily, I got the break.”
The first goal did come from a lucky break — an unfortunate slip by a Spurs player that allowed Marko Grujic to regain possession of the ball. That Sturridge was in the right place to slot it home comes down to his instinct and poacher’s eye for goal.
Sturridge may not be happy getting domestic cup games and league minutes off the bench, but if his shoulders have slumped recently, he didn’t show it on Tuesday. And Liverpool having that caliber of player available to them in reserve is a luxury they’ve not been afforded in some time.