Football has a history of offering up to players the chance of a comeback in their careers after years out in the wilderness. And so it seem this summer for one of Liverpool’s forwards who has fallen from grace. Just six weeks ago the writing looked vivid and clear on the wall for Daniel Sturridge at Liverpool.
All things pointed to an imminent departure. The player had apparently twice met representatives from Turkey over a move, which looked appropriate given his diminished status in the English game.
That transfer hasn’t materialized yet though and the striker has slowly begun work at a rebuilding job. He has two goals in preseason and is playing with the hunger of a man with something to prove. His recent performances in the US tour have been encouraging for his fitness.
If, somehow, Sturridge pulls it off a return to favour, it could be one of the most interesting side stories of the season.
Even if Sturridge was free of his injury concerns, you would still not necessarily bank on his game time for the first XI.
Liverpool don’t play with an out and out striker in Klopp’s set up. In fact a forward like Sturridge who demands constant service could be detrimental to the style of play and fluidity of performances.
However despite the prolific form of the front free last season, there would still be room for a revitalised Sturridge in the squad.
The striker certainly has the quality and experience to make a contribution to this season’s objectives. Once again, it’s going to be busy campaign and someone like Sturridge could be brought in from time to time to allow other players a breather.
Given his horrible luck and persistent injuries, this could actually be the best case scenario for his Liverpool career. If he is to have a future, then he will have to accept a diminished role as a squad player.
There has been a lot of unfair criticism levelled at Sturridge down the years. He is often labelled an idle passenger, not prepared to run the lines or play through the pain.
How quickly some forget. The visibly injured forward led the line for Liverpool bravely against United at Anfield in 13/14 with Suarez still suspended. Despite barely being able to jog, he somehow got into the right place that day to steer home a close range finish and secure three points.
How quickly some forget that he has been rushed back from virtually every injury in his career, allowing no time at all for proper rehabilitation.
Yes he does sometimes cut a figure shy of labour on the pitch, but, how much does the forward actually trust his body? His fragility was cruelly demonstrated on his loan spell at West Brom last season. Barely a few minutes in to his spell he hobbled off as his muscles and damaged tissue failed once again.
Klopp demands much from his players. He will know how near or not Sturridge is to fitness. His words yesterday were encouraging for the England international. It also makes sense to utilize him if he is available. On his day, the forward is one of the most technically gifted players at the club. His quality has been sadly dismissed thanks to the catalog of injuries suffered, but it is something we could benefit from in 18/19.
Whether it’s one last hurrah on his contract before a free transfer or a genuine shot at building something from but rubble of his reds career, remains to be see. All genuine supporters out there though will be willing Sturridge to get his redemption in the best possible way. It would a fitting end for a wrongly forgotten man.