Daniel Sturridge is a goalscorer. This is not a statement that can be reasonably argued with. Despite having only played the equivalent of 6 full matches this season, he is Liverpool's third highest scorer in all competitions. Since joining the club, he has averaged a non-penalty goal every 123 minutes, which is, for comparisons sake, a better rate than Sergio Aguero has managed for Manchester City. He scores clinical one-on-ones, sexy curlers, unreasonable chips, poached headers, and sometimes he'll produce something so slick and precise that it all seems a little unfair on whoever is tasked with marking him.
He punctuates all of these with his own little endpoint, the illegitimate bastard child of an arm-wave and a head slide. Despite his finishing move being sloppy enough that it's unclear whether Alberto Moreno offers a better or worse rendition of it, Sturridge has proved that he possesses rhythm. And even though his scoring rate this season, injury-blighted though it may have been so far, actually exceeds his Liverpool average, Jürgen Klopp is adamant that Sturridge needs help rediscovering that rhythm.
"It’s good to have him back, there's no doubt. But even a player like Daniel needs rhythm and that's what we try to give him.
"You can always think about leaving him out but he has to start games, that’s pretty important to get the best shape and that's what we try together.
"It's absolutely the opposite to not [having him available].
"Not even Daniel Sturridge can give the best performances like this [instantly], he needs to play football, he needs to do things on the pitch, and then he will be happy altogether."
Regardless of Sturridge's scoring rate, Klopp has a point. While the former City and Chelsea striker still gets into good areas most of the time, it often takes a little longer than we've become accustomed to. When the runs into space do come, there is a degree of hesitation present, and the tell-tale explosiveness isn't quite there yet. Against Aston Villa, this didn't really matter, as the spaces were big enough and the marking lax enough for it not to. But when facing a well-organised and positionally disciplined Augsburg playing what is their first ever and likely to be their only European participation in some time, every little inch helps, and that will require Sturridge rediscovering his soul companion.
If he does, it should be enough to see Liverpool through. You can feel it in the air.