He has said all the right things. He has scored twice in his first two appearances.
But I’m still not convinced Daniel Sturridge is a long term solution for Liverpool’s woes.
First he scored against Mansfield in an early round FA Cup match. Yes, it was away from Anfield but that’s hardly a true “test” of his ability. Jonjo Shelvey set him up brilliantly and I would EXPECT a player of lesser skill to finish that particular chance. He also had another one on one with Mansfield’s keeper later on, only to take way too much time deciding what to do and ultimately fluff his chance.
Then came his performance in the second half of a match at Old Trafford. Certainly a bigger stage for the young striker to shine. But once again Sturridge scored a goal that any halfway decent striker should score. Steven Gerrard did all the hard work and Sturridge simply buried the rebound.
It’s still too early to form an opinion about Sturridge’s fit at Anfield, but I did not like what I saw in the second half of that Manchester United match. When Sturridge came on, Liverpool seemed to lose their shape. Everyone ahead of the back four seemed to drift in and out of various positions. Not only did the team’s shape look poor, but there were several occasions where Sturridge showed us why Manchester City and Chelsea gave up on him by demonstrating his propensity to keep his head down and look for his own shot when it’s not there. This would be a problem on any team, but it’s an especially large problem for Liverpool because Luis Suarez needs to have the ball at his feet as much as possible in order to be successful. Sturridge, on the other hand, needs a lot of service. Despite the results, I’d rather have the former scenario.
Yes, Liverpool have had issues scoring, but when Suarez is the focal point of the attack everyone’s role is that much more defined. The team is able to hold its shape much better and the attack looks more fluid. Liverpool need an attacking player to complement Suarez; not clash with him. Fabio Borini struggled early in the season, but he’s on his way back to being 100% healthy and I still think he’d be a better option. He can play on the wing in Rodgers’ 4-3-3 and complement Suarez much better than Sturridge can. If the ManU game showed us anything, it’s that Sturridge and Suarez (at first glance) appear unable to co-exist on the field at the same time.
Of course, it’s only been two matches. As the second half of the season unfolds we’ll learn more, but for the time being I’m still not impressed with the man who consumed 90% of Liverpool’s January transfer budget.
“Walk on with hope in your heart and you’ll never walk alone”