Posted on November 2nd, 2016
It’s been an extremely exciting start to the season for Liverpool fans. Just over a year into his Anfield project, Jurgen Klopp has transformed a side lacking in quality and confidence, into one of the hardest working, most fearsome attacking sides in the Premier League.
He might take an extremely hands-on approach to man management, but it clearly works, as this Liverpool side have gone from strength-to-strength under his stewardship and even look like credible challengers for the title. The only sticking point so far – the 2-0 loss at Burnley aside – has been the whole “Daniel Sturridge situation”, which doesn’t look to be coming to a conclusion any time soon.
It’s hard to question his goal-scoring record – 43 goals in 69 Premier League games, before the start of this season, is a fantastic return for any striker. Despite this, Sturridge has found himself on the periphery of Jurgen Klopp’s plans so far this campaign. The 27 year old has been consigned to a bit-part role and has failed to find the net during his seven brief League appearances.
Klopp has frequently picked Roberto Firmino ahead of Sturridge in the lone striking role, despite the Brazilian attacker not being a natural striker. Divock Origi has also been preferred to Sturridge, on the occasions where Klopp has felt the need for a recognised centre-forward. So why has Sturridge fallen so out of favour?
I think, for Klopp, it comes down to endeavour. Sturridge plays the game in such a laid back manner, it never looks like he’s playing with 100% effort and concentration. These are facets of the game Klopp demands from his players – so when he sees Sturridge flitting around the box, dropping deep and firing a shot 30 yards wide from outside the area, you can’t blame him for showing frustration.
If you compare Sturridge to Robert Lewandowski, who flourished under Klopp at Borussia Dortmund, you can see how the two strikers differ. Sturridge constantly wants to be involved in the game, even if that means vacating the forward’s position. He’s full of step-overs and fancy flicks and doesn’t show enough initiative when his team aren’t in possession. Lewandowski, on the other hand, leads the line tirelessly – constantly hurrying and hassling the opposition defenders. He’s a superb attacking spearhead, confining his movement to the width of the goal posts and he’s always in the right position to tuck away whatever chances his creative teammates lay on for him.
Former Liverpool player Don Hutchinson recently spoke to BWIN in an exclusive interview, where he commented on the situation Sturridge has found himself in at Liverpool. “It’s frustrating to watch Sturridge because you know how much ability he has…He’s a super talent but maybe the Premier League isn’t the best fit for him. His laid back style could be more suited to La Liga or another continental division that doesn’t have the same intensity.”
There have been many reports circulating in the media, suggesting Sturridge will be sold in January. For the good of his career, maybe it would be best if he found himself a new home, where his qualities are fully appreciated. Everything was peachy when Brendan Rogers and Luis Suarez were around for support, but while Jurgen Klopp remains successful at Anfield, Sturridge will always be a square peg, trying to fit into an unequivocally round hole.