Both Fabinho and Naby Keita made their long awaited debuts and Harry Wilson staked his claim for a long term place in Jurgen Klopp’s plans as the crucial pre-season preparations got underway in the baking sunshine.
Daniel Sturridge got himself on the scoresheet twice, and the second half appearance from the former England international came as his country were booking their place in the World Cup semi finals with a 2-0 win over Sweden. Widely expected to be moved on this summer, Sturridge looked sharp in his 45 minute appearance.
Sturridge's goal was a beauty. pic.twitter.com/rZWjKhClCy
— LFC Fans Corner (@LFCFansCorner) July 7, 2018
With a typically cool one on one finish (set up by some Naby Keita pressing which has got me excited!) and a late 25 yard screamer, it would be easy to get sucked in once more and hope that the supremely talented Sturridge has a part to play. Unfortunately the phrase “if he stays fit” has long been worn out when it comes to Sturridge and as such, it is difficult to get excited about the potential role he has to play.
There is no doubting Sturridge’s ability. He has lost the deceptive pace he once had due to a string of injuries but is still one of the best finishers in the league and probably the best finisher at the club. It’s extremely unfortunate then that his body is simply not up to the rigours of professional football.
We have even tried to loan him out to another club in order to give him the opportunity to play extensive first team football. But he limped off three minutes into West Brom’s game at Stamford Bridge last season and aside from a handful of late season appearances, he was a spectator as the Baggies were relegated.
When it comes to tidy finishing, Sturridge is generally a class above. But I have some severe doubts as to whether he would be able to play under Klopp’s system now. We have constructed a team built around a high intensity, press from the front and electric pace throughout the team. Not only would Sturridge struggle to displace Roberto Firmino, who was so prolific last season, but he wouldn’t be able to press as much or effectively. The Brazilian is not only a prolific goalscorer, but he also a fitness machine. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for Sturridge.
It does appear that bringing in another striker isn’t an integral part of Klopp’s summer plans which to me is a concern. I think Sturridge will leave and he is certainly surplus to requirements. But to let him go at the same time as Danny Ings, who has asked to leave, is a gamble to say the least. The logic will likely be that this is a first team pathway for Rhian Brewster who almost sought first team football elsewhere only to be persuaded to stay. Will that be adequate if anything happens to Firmino? Not for me.
It’s truly tragic to see Sturridge destroying a non league team when he could have been playing for England. Had he been able to retain any modicum of fitness for the last two years and given England’s relative lack of depth up front, Sturridge would likely have been a shoe in for a place in Russia. Unfortunately he is instead putting himself in the shop window for a transfer. At least he has the opportunity to do so – Lazar Markovic can’t even get in the squad!
And so it’s with a heavy heart that I can conclusively say that I have seen this before. Even last season, Sturridge was scoring in pre-season only to get injured in the process. I will be very surprised if he is still here come August. Daniel Sturridge is a great player “if fit” but the unfortunate mechanics of the fact are that he has barely been in the last three years. I would love to have him coming off the bench when we need a goal but it just isn’t going to happen I’m afraid. We’ve been down this path a few too many times before and it’s time for Sturridge to move on.