With a barren scoring run to start the season that has now stretched to an unprecedented 17 matches (unprecedented for him at least), it is almost easy to forget just how prolific striker Daniel Sturridge has been at Liverpool.
Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard witnessed the lethal front man’s quality first hand during their time together, even giving his 2014 assist to Sturridge against Fulham the distinction of being his favorite ever assist in a recent Q&A with the Echo.
“I hadn't played with Daniel Sturridge very long,” Gerrard explained. “And one thing I'd always try to do with new strikers is set them up for a goal as soon as I could, to give us both confidence.
“For his goal, there wasn't a lot of space between the defence and the goalkeeper, so I saw the gap and had to put a bit of check on it to make sure it didn't run off, also while hitting it with the outside of my foot.”
While the pair would go on to link up on numerous occasions—including during the magical title challenge of 2013-14—the relationship wasn’t always the smoothest, with the former Liverpool skipper once slating the young Englishman for his perceived lack of commitment in one of those needlessly revealing tell-all books footballers are fond of writing once they’re no longer seeing old teammates every day.
Furthermore, a current poor run of form, not helped by the odd knock, has seen the 27-year old fail to regularly feature in manager Jürgen Klopp’s plans this season, with the German often preferring Roberto Firmino when given the option. The Liverpool legend, however, is the first to argue that Sturridge is far from a spent force and that faith in the striker’s quality is required:
“In terms of natural ability, Sturridge is up there with the rest of them,” Gerrard said in the same interview. “He's so sharp and can get his shot off, as we saw against Everton last week. I don't think sometimes he realises how good he is.”
With the race for Champions League spots hotting up, Liverpool fans will hope that the vital contribution that saw the mercurial forward directly influence the Merseyside derby win last weekend signals a return to the devastating form we’ve all come to know.