Despite the fact Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino, and Sadio Mané all spent the international break half way around the globe representing their countries and Daniel Sturridge looked the hot hand at home as England stayed within their borders during the break, it was the usual trio who started for Liverpool on Saturday.
Even with a nil-nil result against Southampton, given Liverpool managed to lead the league in goals scored thanks to Coutinho, Firmino, and Mané, it’s a difficult decision to question. At least when it comes to asking what’s best for the team. For Sturridge, though, it’s a reality that might be well be worth giving consideration.
At least according to Match of the Day pundit and former Arsenal striker Ian Wright, who took to the BBC over the weekend to say that it should serve as proof to the player that he isn’t in manager Jürgen Klopp’s plans at Anfield and that it’s time for him to push for a move away from the club—perhaps as early as January.
“When you look at it, if Daniel Sturridge—who has just scored for England and is buzzing—can’t get into the team when those lads have done so many miles, he’s got to start look at what’s going on for himself in January.” Wright opined, adding to the growing groundswell of opinion on Sturridge’s struggles at Liverpool.
The striker has been linked to West Ham and Stoke City in recent weeks, and even was briefly connected with Tottenham. And generally, there seems to be a growing opinion that insists Sturridge’s time at Anfield is growing increasingly limited and that he could soon move on. Soon, though, likely won’t mean January.
Not with Liverpool in the midst of a title challenge. Not with Sadio Mané scheduled to spend a month away at the Africa Cup of Nations early in 2017. If the season ends with Sturridge still down the pecking order, then he may well move on in the summer. A major sale in January, though, doesn’t seem likely.
No matter the talk of pundits looking for controversy, Sturridge offers too valuable an option—even if that’s all the 27-year-old is these days, an option—to ship him out mid-season. And for the player, too, leaving in the midst of a title challenge for six more months at a Stoke or West Ham would seem an odd choice.
Sturridge only managing a late cameo against Southampton may push the striker a little closer to a Liverpool departure. But if it has, if it does, that departure won’t be until next summer.