It’s hard to believe, but Tuesday’s game against Paris Saint-Germain was Daniel Sturridge’s first ever Champions League start. For a player of his quality, that seems almost impossible, yet it’s true. And what a match for him to make his debut. And what a way for him to announce his presence, by opening scoring in a game against one of the best teams in Europe.
Liverpool fans all over the globe — at least the good ones — will be thrilled with Sturridge’s goal and overall game today after watching him struggle for years with injury-upon-injury. No one understands the difficult journey that Sturridge has faced more than Jürgen Klopp, who chose the veteran English attacker to lead Liverpool’s front line due to Roberto Firmino’s eye injury making him unable to start.
“I said to Daniel before the game he is in the best shape since I’ve known him, physically, and now he had to use it – and that’s what he did,” Klopp explained. “A super game, a super goal.”
People who have written off Sturridge may need to reconsider after Tuesday’s performance. If he can continue to stay fit and play at this level, he will be getting plenty of minutes on the pitch this season.
Roberto Firmino can’t start every game, as today showed, so it must be reassuring to have alternatives in the form of Sturridge and Xherdan Shaqiri for Klopp to call on.
“Yes, when you have Bobby Firmino available, you actually always think ‘come on, bring him’,” Klopp admitted. “But it was nice to see how Daniel performed tonight and he paid 100 per cent back. That’s so cool for him, for us, such a big, important sign.”
The Reds have won all six of their first matches, and now with Sturridge looking fit and able to contribute again, it’s starting to feel like this could turn out to be a very special season.