Daniel Sturridge isn’t first choice at Liverpool any more. That much is clear. Whether one wants to blame it on reliability or physical decline or a mental block following a string of serious injuries, the end result is the same. Even when fit, he won’t be starting most weeks.
He’ll still get minutes, and if he can find a way to something resembling his old form he could still make a case that he should be starting, but right now it’s difficult to see a way for him to get to that point. As a result, many are starting to think his departure is more a question of when than if.
“It comes down to Daniel and if he has ambitions to play week in and week out,” former Liverpool midfielder Jason McAteer told 888Sport this week. “Daniel does fit into Jürgen Klopp’s plans to an extent, but it’s only as a second string striker.
“There is only so long a player can motivate himself from the bench, and he has an England career to think about. There will certainly be clubs out there across Europe who would play him every week. I think Daniel will be the one deciding if he stays of not, not Jürgen Klopp.”
Most will be in agreement with that take, and it’s at the root of why most assume Sturridge will be moving on. Most also think that, at this point, consigning Sturridge to second string status at Anfield is probably a tough decision but one that’s for the best.
McAteer, though, isn’t so sure. Jürgen Klopp may value the ability to press from his attackers, and Sturridge’s deficiencies in that department have hurt his chances with Klopp as much as anything else. They’ve diminished the role of Sergio Aguero at Manchester City, too.
“I’m a big fan of both and it’s amazing 25-goal strikers are losing out because they don’t run around,” said the man who spent half a season as assistant at Tranmere before moving into punditry following the end of his playing career. “Isn’t the idea of football to score goals? It’s ridiculous.”
For some it might be, though if Sturridge was scoring goals at something like the rate he used to be able to it’s an argument that might carry more weight. Sadly, in the present, Sturridge neither runs around nor does he score goals, and that likely means a move is in store.