Liverpool Football Club, a new season and Daniel Sturridge.
Questions about his availability are being asked. Plans are being drawn up as to where Sturridge plays a role in Liverpool’s quest for the title.
The metaphor of being in a relationship with Daniel Sturridge has been used in abundance during discussions about Sturridge’s place in the team during pre-season, possibly too much, but it is actually a good way of assessing the situation.
He even did it himself in an interview with ESPN over the summer.
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) July 27, 2018
The idea is that you have previously been in a relationship with Daniel where for the most part it was the best time of your life, you were deeply in love and you had made romantic plans for the rest of your time together.
This would describe the role of watching Sturridge relentlessly terrify defenders during his strongest showings at Anfield at the height of his lethal prowess.
But your relationship with Daniel wasn’t all roses and tagging each other in romantic memes on Facebook. What relationship is?
He would stop turning up to things. Stop texting you back. Not turning up to your second cousin’s 7th birthday party. What a pig.
You stuck it out but you never knew what you were going to get with him. You never knew when you were going to see him next. You never knew when he was going to text you back.
And so you break up.
And you fall out of love with him.
But he keeps on coming back. Every year (pre-season). And you are right back in his arms, because you know it’s too good when you’re together. You never really fell out of love with him, did you?
You can’t trust him. Not properly. Because you know at any minute he could leave you hanging and alone again.
But is it worth the risk?
We’re here again. Contemplating Daniel Sturridge having a role to play in the Liverpool team.
There have been flashes of his undoubted quality throughout pre-season but the general consensus has been ‘it’s just pre-season, he’s done this before, we know we can’t trust him to stay fit all season.’
And yet. AND YET.
What if alongside Mohammed Salah, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Xherdan Shaqiri we also have Daniel Sturridge?
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) August 8, 2018
You take those four and put Sturridge alongside them and on paper that’s about as lethal as an attacking threat you can find anywhere in Europe.
And of course the game isn’t played on paper and there are a lot of caveats to take with including Sturridge in your thinking for the 2018/19 season.
His injury issues are no secret, and so isn’t the evidence that he has lost a yard of pace, but there has always been more than just that to the 28-year-old’s game and he has really shown it this pre-season.
The former Chelsea and Manchester City striker has been seen operating in deeper positions a lot of the time in our friendly games this summer, with the team taking advantage of the striker’s vision and technique to create chances.
Add that to the fact that he has actually netted six goals during the close season and that represents a profitable summer for Liverpool’s number 15.
I don't want to overreact because it's only pre-season, but this reformed Daniel Sturridge is the second coming of Pele.
— Matt (@FalseFirmino) August 7, 2018
There could well be a role to play for Daniel Sturridge at Anfield this season.
He visibly looks a lot happier, even relaxed, and perhaps there has been a conversation between him and the manager to discuss what he can offer to the team this season.
Maybe they have both found peace with a role for Sturridge, and there has been an ‘acceptance’ about the player’s body language during pre-season.
It’s time to allow yourself to believe Daniel Sturridge can play a part this season.
You forgot how good he was and he is back here showing you how beautiful it used to be.
Let yourself fall in love again.
*Odds are subject to change.