Daniel Sturridge is one of the two best strikers in England when fit. Only he’s never fit. Following his latest failed attempt to make a return, manager Jürgen Klopp decided that after two years spent rotating in and out of the lineup with one injury after another, what Sturridge needed was a proper pre-season.
What he needed was a time spent focused on regaining strength and working on his match fitness before he even thought about trying to get back into game action. Even that didn’t go smoothly, though, as Klopp today revealed that the injury-prone striker hadn’t trained at all in recent weeks following yet another setback.
"There’s no chance for Daniel," Klopp said when asked if the striker might be ready to make an appearance against Exeter City on Wednesday. "He had a break in his training because of some issues. He’s back now, but he’s losing time and there’s been no team training for him since Newcastle. I don’t know how long that is."
Fans knew Sturridge hadn’t trained with the first team since early in December, but that he hadn’t been training at all in recent weeks is news. Albeit not especially surprising news given Sturridge’s track record and that the striker has now sat out more games than he’s played for the club since arriving in January of 2013.
Sturridge has made 72 appearances for Liverpool, scoring 44 goals. But those 72 games have come over three years, and in that same span he’s missed 75 games. He’s been injured 418 days out of the thousand or so since he arrived, and the only reason that number isn’t higher is he’s often been listed as fit during the offseason.
It looks worse when you consider just the last year and a half. Sturridge managed to mostly stay fit for his first 18 months at the club, and played a key role in Liverpool’s 2013-14 title challenge. He missed just 18 games in the year and a half following his arrival from Chelsea, and quickly became an indispensable player.
Since then, he’s played 23 games. And missed 57. Since the start of the 2014-15 season, Sturridge has been fit just 29% of the time. He’s managed to play fewer games for the club since the start of the 2014-15 season than Christian Benteke has since he signed last summer. He’s played less for Liverpool than Mario Balotelli.
But the good news, apparently, is that at least he’s back in training again from his latest setback. Hopefully this time around he can at least get to the point he’s training with the first team before picking up another knock.