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Justice League: The Curious Case of Daniel Sturridge

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Beset by injuries but irrepressible when fit, we open the inaugural round of Justice League by exploring Daniel Sturridge’s time at Liverpool Football Club.

Liverpool Training Session
Best fanfic never made tbh ;-(
Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Daniel Sturridge cuts an enigmatic figure in the minds of Reds fans. At once undeniably brilliant and alternately frustrating, Sturridge’s contributions and struggles for fitness are two sides of the same coin. But at the front of some people’s minds is the question of why LFC fandom never quite wrapped their arms around him with the same force and warmth as strikers past. And, as of this writing, Sturridge has left for West Brom on loan never having been given his own song by the Kop.

In fact, we recently received a message from a TLO reader asking us about that:

To: AJ Joven
From: Q
RE: Daniel Sturridge and maybe cafe racers of instagram

Hey, AJ!

Long time reader, first time caller! Anyway, I had a quick question: do you think Daniel Sturridge deserves a song? I mean, he was so brilliant for us and, yes, he’s had injuries, but when he made the pitch he was brilliant. I’ll take my answer off the air. Thanks!

Love, Ian

Ok! Well, Ian, first, we’re not a radio show so I hope you aren’t waiting by a radio for our answer. Aside from all of that, this is a pretty straightforward exploration. Let’s lay this out in classic pro and con fashion:

Con:

  • Daniel Sturridge’s injury history is abysmal. Outside of his brilliant ’13-14 season, he has failed to make the pitch for more than 1000 minutes in the league.
  • He’s only had one great season. Who gets a song for just that?
  • Piggybacking on those last two points, his impact has been so limited, will we even miss his presence now that he’s gone?

Pro:

  • He may have had a limited run, but his production in terms of goals/assists per 90 sits at an average of .78 in the league over his entire career at LFC. And despite getting limited playing time, he’s still shown flashes of producing at an elevated rate - he’s notched 1 goal and 2 assists in 83 minutes of playing time for LFC in the Champions League this year.
  • We all remember 2013-2014 as his best season. But it’s often forgotten that the team began that season on 3 straight, narrow 1-nil victories - including a big win against United. All of which were done as Luis Suarez served his suspension. The goalscorer in all 3? Daniel Andre Sturridge.
  • There’s this moment:

And this:

And this:

The moment of Sturridge pulling his car over after a match to take a photo with a young fan. Sturridge’s Instagram feed showing him cooking food with his mother. Sturridge mentoring young players. Sturridge gave his entire heart for the club.

Conclusion

Ultimately, even if Sturridge’s playing time resembled a comet in both ebullience and in it being brief, the intense shine of its quality along with the constancy of being a dogged and devoted ambassador of the Liverpool Way means he deserved at a song from the fans. Goals against United, a memorable set of celebrations, and acting as an unimpeachable ambassador for the club, that Sturridge wasn’t more embraced is a shame.

Here’s to hoping that he can discover his form at West Brom and seal a permanent move elsewhere. A league without Sturridge would be one far diminished and it is this writer’s sincere hope to see Sturridge fit and firing regardless of what shirt he pulls on.

So, yes, he’s deserved a song and, if he ever makes it back onto the field for the Reds, I hope the Kop does right by him and greets him with a loud, full-throated musical tribute.


Justice League is all about tackling the issues surrounding Liverpool Football Club that are important to you, the TLO reader, so we encourage you to reach out if you have any questions you’d like us to answer or debates you’d like us to weigh in on. Get in touch with AJ on twitter (@aj_joven) or leave a note in the comments.