When he was fit and on form, there was a case to be made that Daniel Sturridge was the best striker in the Premier League. Or, if he wasn’t the best, he was at least one of the top two alongside Sergio Aguero. Fitness, though, has been a problem of late. In fact, it’s been a problem since before Jürgen Klopp became manager.
As a result, many assumed Sturridge’s time at the club was coming to an end and that he would leave in the summer. An impressive run late in the season, though, appears to have bought him another chance to impress at Anfield, and so far in pre-season, Klopp says he’s been hugely impressed by the 27-year-old striker.
“Did you see him train?” Klopp asked rhetorically when The Liverpool Echo asked about the player and what role Sturridge might have to play for Liverpool in the coming season. “He’s really digging in and giving everything; he’s reaching for the next level, a new physical level, and that’s really good news.”
Having a fully fit Sturridge might end up causing Klopp a few headaches given all signs had been pointing towards the club going into the season with Roberto Firmino first choice up top. Having two capable, top level strikers available for selection, though, is far from the worst problem to have for a manager.
Especially when part of why Sturridge impressed so much at the end of last season was that he showed a willingness to drop off, to press, and to generally play as the kind of false nine Klopp seemed to want to deploy between a pair of poaching, goal-scoring wingers.
Two fit, top level strikers will mean more options—options depending on the opponent, the option to occasionally go with two up top, the option to have one available to come on late and make the difference in a close game. It may mean a few selection headaches, but those headaches will be worth it.
“We don’t have to talk about what a difference he could make, everybody knows about it,” Klopp added. “We just need to have it. We need him fit. There will be different opportunities in different games. We need a lot of options—different players with different styles of play.”