Can Daniel Sturridge force his way into Liverpool’s plans?
Liverpool have conducted some very impressive business so far this summer, but it remains to be seen where Daniel Sturridge will be playing when the transfer window shuts.
The striker’s quality has never been up for debate. When fit and firing, he’s one of the best finishers in the league. But he’s been fit far too rarely over recent years.
He hasn’t made over 20 league appearances since 2013-14, when the goals he and Luis Suarez scored almost fired the Reds to the title.
Injuries haven’t been his only issue. Sturridge’s style has seemed an awkward fit with Jurgen Klopp’s high-tempo tactics.
Roberto Firmino is the clear first-choice up front, so he joined West Bromwich Albion on loan in January to play regularly.
Injuries limited him to just six appearances and he couldn’t save the Baggies from the drop. Liverpool didn’t seem to miss him either. They stormed to the Champions League final without the 28-year-old.
But his displays in pre-season suggest he could play his way into Klopp’s plans. He was the standout performer in Thursday’s 2-0 win over Blackburn. Sturridge scored and set up the other strike. He even wore the captain’s armband while he was on the pitch.
It’s hard to read too much into pre-season, but Liverpool don’t too many better options in attack.
Danny Ings is set to leave, leaving Divock Origi, Dominic Solanke and Ben Woodburn as back-up to Firmino in attack. Sturridge could be more effective than any of them. He’s a different player to Firmino, but he’s looked very sharp in pre-season.
Liverpool may still be tempted to sell if they get a decent offer, but there’s been no talk of any interest in him recently.
The best option could be for Sturridge to start the season as the main back-up in attack.
It’s an arrangement that could work for both parties. He’d play fairly regularly, while it would allow Liverpool to put him in the shop window if they do want to sell down the line.
All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publication