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Sturridge Sees a Hunger for Success

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He may have lost his prolific strike partner but with a Champions League campaign to come, Daniel Sturridge is pleasingly upbeat about the season to come, insisting he will step up personally whilst drawing strength from his colleagues' hunger for success.

Daniel's announcement of free sandwiches was a real hit with the new boys.
Daniel's announcement of free sandwiches was a real hit with the new boys.
Guy Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

The possibility of wresting glorious triumph from even the most baleful adversity is something that Liverpool fans are especially well versed in. Nobody who witnessed the events of May 25th 2005 can ever again have a justifiable reason for throwing their hands in the air and admitting defeat. My brother and I, having shared the euphoric jouissance of that legendary victory have often turned to each other since, when faced with life's vicissitudes, and simply repeated what has become, for us, an emboldening mantra - remember Istanbul. Over the ensuing years, as the teeth of cynicism and bitter experience have bitten deep, the simple unfettered optimism of that heartening credo has seemed a little callow and naive.

Since the start of 2013, however, Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool have got your scribbler dreaming again. The concept of faith in the possibility of victory has begun to seem less like dewy-eyed hope and the sardonic world-weariness, which we had all adopted as a shield against the multiple horrors of Hicks, Gillett, Purslow and Hodgson, has begun to dissolve. There is a new palpable exuberance around the club which was splendidly, defiantly manifest as last season drew to a close. Lining the coach route to the stadium, fans bellowed their approval and exhorted their heroes. "We are Liverpool," they sang, and it meant something. For the first time in a generation there is justifiable excitement about Anfield becoming the "bastion of invincibility" that Shankly has envisioned. These are stirring times to be a fan of Liverpool Football Club.

Of course, if there is one thing that's guaranteed to drain the joie de vivre from your heart, dear reader, it is the wretched months of uncertainty and crushed hope that form the summer transfer window. Old favourites leave, less favoured players are inexplicably offered contract extensions, coveted targets opt for other clubs, underwhelming recruits arrive and a general air of angst-ridden panic sets in amongst supporters, many of whom engage in the most unedifying bickering.

Luckily then, in Brendan Rodgers and Daniel Sturridge, the jumpier elements of the fan base have two soothing and inspiring voices to bolster their flagging faith and buoy up their battered spirits. It is surely no coincidence that Sturridge's arrival coincided with the aforementioned turnaround in Liverpool's fortunes and the manager who brought him to Anfield, amidst much wary scepticism, is bullish and characteristically positive in the face of losing Luis Suárez. The Carnlough native insists that the players which will start the new campaign will be up to the task and he shares the fans' hope for another captivating season.

"What do I see when I look at the team?" he pondered. "I see players who scored 70 goals last season. It's fairly simple. Luis Suarez is not a Liverpool player anymore, so we don't need to talk about him. When we didn't have Luis, we scored goals. That won't be an issue. You look at young Lazar Markovic and Raheem Sterling, the pace of Daniel Sturridge. We have great variety in our attack, full of pace and trickery. We have got people, like Markovic, who can beat defenders. I hope it will be another stand-out season for quality and entertainment."

As for Sturridge, he comes across as quite possibly the most likable man to ever wear the Liverbird. The chicken teriyaki enthusiast has been defying expectations and unfounded prejudice since he arrived at the club to a lukewarm fan response. He was a troublemaker, you see. He had a poor attitude and was a he Big Time Charlie, don't you know? The Chelsea guys said so and Jose Mourinho has never been anything other than ethical and sincere, right? Right?

The England front man was quick to disabuse dubious fans of their misguided assumptions. From his first interview he spoke with a candour and earnest enthusiasm that were utterly endearing. His performance on the pitch has been nothing short of remarkable and his prodigious tally of 35 goals in 49 appearances to date is worthy of far more adulation than he has received. Doubtless the dancing striker has suffered by comparison with the frankly unequalled brilliance of a certain now-departed flesh gourmand, but the Birmingham native is worthy of so much more praise and, with time on his side, he has the potential to become the nonpareil of Liverpool's recent strikers. The man himself is unsurprisingly phlegmatic about the dissolution of his former partnership and pleasingly ebullient when he speaks about the season to come and the potential for he and his colleagues to succeed.

"In terms of next season for the goals, I'll step up myself and everyone has to," the forward told assembled hacks. "It was a unique partnership and I wish Luis all the best. We shared some good times together. We created history with our goals and became the most successful Liverpool partnership in one season. But we will move forward as a team. It's everyone's job to do that, the new boys who've come in as well as the players who have been there all season. Liverpool is a huge club, an elite club and people don't realise that. This is a huge club, with a lot of players who can step up. Luis has left. That's football, he's moved on. For me, with the signings the manager has made - exciting players, young players, up-and-comers as they call them - we are going to have that winning mentality.

"Players come and go in football, that's the nature of the game," Sturridge continued. "Some will remain at a club their whole career, like Stevie Gerrard, and some will move. It doesn't matter. We will still have the mentality to move forward, be an exciting squad, playing attacking football and that's the Liverpool way. We will continue to do that. I will do my best and give 100 per cent, as I always do, and I'm sure the other boys will do the same. Whoever is selected will go out there with the right mentality and try to win games for Liverpool. We are a young, hungry squad that are looking to put our stamp down not just in the Premier League but European football as well. We will try to move forward as a squad with a great manager behind us who has got the exact same mentality. He is hungry for success. That is the motto - everybody is hungry for success here."

The combination of articulate expression, relentless positivity and on-field brilliance that Daniel Andre Sturridge embodies is a rare one. Liverpool fans would do well to realise the calibre of the man they have spearheading their attack, for in a team that will always need leaders, the guileful forward provides both positive example and genuine inspiration through his displays on the pitch and his blithesome sanguine manner off it. Let us hope, with a campaign full of promise to come, we shall see that delightfully goofy arm wriggling at least as many times as we did last season.