Liverpool have had quite the stable of iconic attackers over their long history. From King Kenny to Ian Rush to Robbie Fowler, the Reds haven’t really suffered in terms of finding players who can put it in the back of the net.
Last week, an analytics group released a graphic that displayed the attackers that averaged the most non-penalty goals and assists per 90 in the Premier League, starting with the 99-00 season. The big talking point for the Reds was that Mo Salah was the third highest on the chart, behind Kun Aguero and Thierry Henry.
But slightly below, still in Top 10 and ahead of the likes of Harry Kane, sat one Daniel Sturridge.
NPG/A per 90 in the Premier League since 99/00— IG (@InvisibleGoals) October 10, 2023
What stands out the most to you? pic.twitter.com/Mr7UaEkVbT
We all know that Sturridge’s per 90 metrics were out of this world but it’s nice to have one more example of just how the striker was before injuries robbed him of his pace and quickness. I remember Sturridge being one of the most pure and instinctive finishers of the ball I’ve ever seen. The angles with which he’d manage to force the ball into the net are things I still marvel over.
More than that, though, I loved how smart Sturridge’s positioning and off-the-ball play was. Not quite the creator of space that Firmino was, Studge was one of my first players that I could point to who impacted play just by where on the pitch he’d end up. He would pull central defenders completely out of position, often leaving acres of space for other players.
I often wish that the Sturridge from the 13-14 season would have had a chance to meet up with Jurgen Klopp. Or that his body hadn’t betrayed him and given him three good seasons under Jurgen. It wasn’t meant to be, but at least we’ve got the memories.