Recent years have been somewhat trying, with the ascendancy of the Salah-Mané-Firmino triumvirate as well as a number of unfortunate injuries having forced veteran striker Daniel Sturridge to the sidelines and beyond, if you take into account the loan spell at West Bromwich Albion.
But while it’s not quite 2013-14 all over again, Sturridge is enjoying a superb start to the current Premier League season in the role of a late game impact substitute. He has made the most of his limited minutes, reminding everyone of his uncanny eye for scoring while marching towards an astonishing 12.5 minutes per goal. Sure, it’s probably not something that can be sustained over longer periods, but Sturridge is flourishing with his new mandate.
For observers in England, and not just those supporting Liverpool, thoughts have turned to whether or not Sturridge might have a similar role to play with Gareth Southgate’s squad, particularly given Jamie Vardy’s decision to retire from international football. Contributors to SkySports’ Sunday Supplement certainly felt that Sturridge had earned some serious consideration.
“I don’t think he’s in a place yet where he can play 90 minutes so if Gareth Southgate is thinking about who he is going to pick at a tournament and he’s thinking that far ahead, then maybe he doesn’t go with a 29-year-old whose body has let him down too much in the recent past,” noted the Guardian’s Dominic Fifield.
”However, if he’s looking at the Nations League games specifically next month and he thinks Harry Kane is going to start both of those games against Croatia and Spain, and yet he might need to throw someone late on to nick a goal.”
Others rightfully opined that Sturridge could bring a different dimension off the bench in support of first-choice striker Harry Kane, especially in light of Vardy’s retirement.
“There’s vacuum that’s been created by Vardy in that there’s no-one senior enough that you can trust to come on and make a difference,” said Matt Dunn of the Daily Express.
”Sturridge fits that bill and it all depends on how seriously Southgate takes the competitive nature of the Nations League because I think there is a worry that if we do badly in Croatia especially, we could end up bottom of a difficult three-team group and our seedings get affected for future competitions.”
While certainly Sturridge’s resurgence (and hopefully his happiness, if selected once again for England) will be pleasing for Liverpool supporters to see, they will no doubt be a touch nervous about the striker’s physical condition. “Sturridge,” “injury,” and “international duty” are words that Reds never want to see again, especially now when he might be such a key contributor to Jürgen Klopp’s ambitions.