For several years there has been a tragic air about Daniel Sturridge. The 28-year-old striker should be in the prime of his career, but since scoring 21 league goals and nearly lifting the Premier League trophy with Liverpool in 2013/14, Sturridge’s career trajectory has been headed steadily downward.
Instead of being able to enjoy the fruits of that season’s labor, he was sidelined for a majority of 2014/15, including Liverpool’s ill-fated Champions League run (or rather, stumble and fall).
“We've been in the Champions League two times since I've been at the club,” Sturridge said in an interview with The Echo. “Obviously I missed out the first time but hopefully I can be a big part of this European campaign.
“I played in the competition many times for Chelsea and we won it when I was there.
“It's nothing new to me. You want to be playing at this level. I am ready for when the opportunity comes.
“From my perspective, I'm feeling good. I want to stay healthy and I want to keep scoring goals for the team.”
Sturridge hasn’t started in the Champions League since March 2012 when Chelsea saw off Napoli, and hasn’t scored in Europe’s premier competition since November 2010 against Slovenian side Zilina.
For a player of Sturridge’s caliber, that is a long drought on both counts. Given his injury history, his start last time out against Hudderfield Town might preclude him from starting in tomorrow night’s game. However, perhaps his goal is a sign of a better return for the striker. And what better way to end a 7-year goal drought than against a team that you tonked 7-0 last time out?
It’s tight at the top of Group E, with Liverpool only ahead because of goal differential. Three points will be seen as the absolute minimum against Maribor tomorrow, and another lopsided result would be very welcomed. Hopefully Sturridge can break at least one of his lengthy droughts and help Liverpool to another big win.