Liverpool's attack has lacked sharpness and cohesion, but news that Daniel Sturridge has returned to light training will give some cause for optimism. Sturridge hasn't featured for Liverpool since he played as part of a striking duo in the satisfying away victory against Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane. It's a shame that he played 89 minutes in the home friendly against Norway and both Liverpool as well as England were unable to call upon him for competitive action.
Brendan Rodgers has already made his feelings clear on the matter and he wasn't unreasonable in sharing them. Liverpool fans haven't been fond of the England national team and it's a case of Liverpool first, Liverpool second, and Liverpool a very close third. The problem is that Liverpool's players do care and the likes of Jordan Henderson, Raheem Sterling, Daniel Sturridge, and Adam Lallana have found prominence in the national setup over the past year. Naturally, no fan wants to see a player return to a cherished club unable to play but should consider that a player is under sizeable pressure turning out for the Three Lions. The success of Liverpool players at international level helps their reputations grow and brings a greater knowledge to the club on matchdays. Hopefully, a better balance can be struck in the future.
So, Daniel Sturridge has made a big step to making an appearance for Liverpool sometime this month by returning to training. Liverpool's sharpest edge trained alone on Wednesday and even shared his progress on twitter. He also posted something about Rick Ross and "pushing it" in a previous tweet but it's not time for the "huh" rapper right now. Sturridge's optimism could mean that the mooted return against Everton in the Merseyside derby is one that he'll be able to make quite comfortably.
Pushing myself to my limit right now for real. Closer to fitness each day!! pic.twitter.com/NTZeNDGius— Daniel Sturridge (@D_Sturridge) September 17, 2014
Sturridge has scored one goal in three Premier League appearances and his quick feet played a key role in Liverpool's first goal against Tottenham as he played in Jordan Henderson down Liverpool's right before the new vice-captain sent the ball across for Raheem Sterling to score. Sturridge, Henderson, and Sterling...goal! When Steven Gerrard eventually retires or accepts a reduced role in the squad, these are the players who will form part of a reliable core for Brendan Rodgers in the years to come.
Liverpool's striking "soloists" weren't on the field as Liverpool returned to the Champions League at Anfield, and although one had made the decision to experience the sweet taste of milk and honey elsewhere, there was certainly a wistfulness in these parts as the Kop led the chants for Mario Balotelli. It's great that Liverpool's Italian international scored for Liverpool and that such a rousing tribute has been found for him so early, but what about Daniel Sturridge?
This is not a case of Highlander dynamics at play because both strikers have been high among my favourite non-Liverpool players before they understood that wearing Liverpool's Red is best for goalscorers. It's just that Liverpool's nummer fünfzehn hasn't got the love or recognition he deserves. The chants never came as quickly as the goals did, the doubts didn't dissipate as records were broken, but Daniel Sturridge kept on dancing. In Daniel Sturridge's absence, Liverpool have lacked the movement and fluidity that he brings to the attack. Perhaps Philippe Coutinho is missing the regular runs from Sturridge and Raheem Sterling would benefit from having his "big brother" on the pitch.
Daniel Sturridge may have only just started light training but it's excellent news. If Liverpool can spoil Saturday's "no surprise to me" party that Sam Allardyce is planning for himself, we could be looking forward to the man with the moves showing the blue half of Merseyside "what time it is" once again.