It’s safe to say that many people had counted Daniel Sturridge after his disappointing loan spell last season. Most, including me, had not expected to see him in a red shirt again. But then something unexpected and brilliant happened: Sturridge returned. He hasn’t had much playing time this season — and given his abysmal injury record, that’s probably for the best — but he’s taken advantage of the time he’s been given.
Sturridge has scored four goals in the seven games he’s featured in. Notably, in two of those games — against West Ham and last week against Chelsea — he came on after the 80 minute mark and still managed to score.
The heart of every person in the Daniel Sturridge fan club feels like it’s made of buoyant, fizzy champagne bubbles after last week’s stunner to steal a point at the Bridge. Honestly, I’m still not over it.
Virgil van Dijk, who didn’t get the opportunity to play with Sturridge last season, has recognized his importance to the team that Klopp has put together this season.
“Before I arrived at Liverpool, I said he was one of the best strikers in the league and he shows it when he’s fit,” Van Dijk said.
“Of course he is good enough for England. There shouldn’t be any doubt. I know what he’s capable of, how good he can be and when he’s at his best, by playing against him and seeing him in training with the hard work that he puts in and the positivity he brings.
“We have a great squad, world-class players, and he’s one of them.”
You can trust that towering Dutch fellow. He knows what he’s talking about when it comes to the football.
Sturridge showed how important it is to have quality depth on your squad when the games come thick and fast. Liverpool have fallen out of the League Cup, but hopefully they’ll still have plenty to keep them occupied as they compete in the other three competitions this season. The Reds’ success will hinge on players like Sturridge stepping up and showing their quality to help propel the momentum forward.
It’s only a day and some change until they have to put aside Sturridge’s heroics to focus on the difficult challenge that Napoli pose in the Champions League. And that’s followed by a clash with Manchester City at the weekend. There’ll be plenty more opportunities to players to shine, and we can expect to see Sturridge right in the mix.