In just over a week, Liverpool F.C will once again stand on the precipice of potential glory when they take on Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham Hotspur in the UEFA Champions League Final at the Metropolitano Stadium in Madrid, Spain. It is only the second time in UEFA Champions League history that both teams in the final are from England with the first one having taken place in 2008 when Manchester United faced off against Chelsea.
While many had hoped that this past season would see him return to his former glory, Daniel Sturridge had to be content with being Roberto Firmino’s understudy for the majority of it. However, with Liverpool’s season not quite over yet, Sturridge still has the chance for a potential swan song in Red (his contract runs out on 30 June 2019) next Saturday. It would certainly be appropriate if he did get the opportunity to play in the final and more so if he managed to score the goal that ends the game in Liverpool’s favour to lift the Champions League trophy given that he opened Liverpool’s European goal account for this season’s campaign when he scored the first goal against Paris Saint-Germain at Anfield in September last year.
Having won the Champions League with Chelsea in 2012, Sturridge has an understanding of the mentality needed in finals, regardless of whether you’re the star or final minute substitute player as everyone has an influence on the result. This is what he had to say while chatting to Liverpoolfc.com at the Marbella training camp where the squad have been based this past week, with Jürgen Klopp creating a mini pre-season atmosphere before the UCL final next week.
To be successful you need to use the squad, everyone has a role to play. If you look over the years at finals that have been played, there have been players who have hardly played any games that have scored goals or won tournaments for their countries or won finals for their teams, players who aren’t on the pitch who come on and make a difference as well. So, it’s important for everybody to be tuned in to everything that’s needed for the team to be successful next week. I feel we need to take the next step and push to the next level. Winning a trophy – which is the biggest hurdle – allows you to win a lot more because you know how to win. That’s the thing we’re lacking at the moment, jumping over that last hurdle to provide the first trophy under the manager. There aren’t many finals where a team completely dominates the game and overruns the other team, it’s very rare you find that.
It’s all about those small margins and trying to overcome adversities; the other team will have a lot more play than you sometimes and it’s just about defending as a unit, and when you get your chances to take them.
Here’s hoping that Daniel does get that chance and takes it all the way on 1 June 2019.