Despite some talk in the autumn that Daniel Sturridge might remain at Liverpool on a cut-rate deal beyond the end of the current season, it appears certain now that the 29-year-old striker will leave the club when his contract expires.
This according to The Times’ Paul Joyce, who says that the club now fully expect Sturridge to move on in the summer. While not unexpected news—in fact, despite that earlier talk, a departure always seemed likeliest—it’s still disappointing.
Less, perhaps, for what Liverpool might be losing when Sturridge leaves and more from the sense that injuries conspired such that when he does depart the club it will be after having made far less of an impact than he should have.
After signing in January of 2013 from Chelsea after years of disappointment at the London club, Sturridge appeared to hit his stride with the Reds, forming a deadly strike partnership with Luis Suarez that brought Liverpool close to the title.
It brought him praise and a regular role for England, the striker having seemed to have fully come good on his promise. It didn’t hurt, either, that he cut a likeable figure off the pitch. Then, first, Suarez left. Then the injuries.
Last season, frustrated by his limited role at Anfield—a limited role due to the fact the club couldn’t count on him staying fit—Sturridge headed to West Brom on loan. Their relegation struggle was enough to get him to recommit to Liverpool.
With that in mind, he will remain in the squad for the remainder of the current season—and perhaps get the chance to play a role in ending his time at the club on a very high note. But then he will move on in search of playing time.
There has been talk of Serie A and MLS—though with the latter coming from the most unreliable of sources—but wherever Sturridge does end up next, it seems it won’t be at Anfield. It’s disappointing news, but it’s not surprising.