Is Sturridge on his way out of Anfield?
It looks as though Daniel Sturridge could well be on his way out of Anfield with the striker still struggling to establish himself as an important part of manager Jurgen Klopp’s plans. The 27-year old has fallen down the pecking order under the German, with Roberto Firmino and Divock Origi both fitting into the style of play that the former Borussia Dortmund boss likes his forwards to adopt, more than the England international.
After a sensational 2013/14 season, in which Sturridge scored 24 goals in all competitions, the forward has struggled badly with injury for a large part of the last three years. But despite being fit for the majority of this campaign, the former Chelsea and Manchester City man has only started four games in the league for Liverpool this season, spending much of his time on the bench and watching on as the likes of Firmino, Coutinho and Sadio Mane have caught the eye.
With Liverpool currently sitting top of the table and leading the goalscoring charts after their best start to a season since 2008/09, it’s hard for Sturridge to really mount a case for a starting position in place of any of the club’s current in-form forwards. It might still be early on in the new campaign, but Liverpool have seen their title odds significantly shorten in the football betting markets in recent weeks – down to around 5/2, and the club are certainly producing the sort of form you’d expect from a team looking to contend for honours.
While Klopp has insisted he is not looking to sell the out-of-favour striker in January, it’s looking increasingly likely that Sturridge will attract interest from a number of clubs when the transfer window opens. West Ham and Stoke have both already been linked with the frontman, with the two clubs believed to be willing to match Sturridge’s £120,000 contract. The Hammers have struggled for goals all season, not helped by injuries to a number of key strikers, and Slaven Bilic is expected to be given backing to bring in a proven goalscorer in January.
For Stoke, despite bringing in Wilfried Bony on loan from Manchester City in the summer, Mark Hughes’ men haven’t found goalscoring easy this year. While it remains to be seen whether the club could afford to match West Ham if it came down to an auction, the prospect of joining a team looking at a top-ten position rather than one facing an impending relegation battle may appeal to Sturridge should he be allowed to leave during the transfer window.
It might have been a few years since Sturridge was last able to show what he is truly capable of, but the forward did produce a timely reminder that he is still one of the most natural finishers in the game by scoring the opening goal in England’s 3-0 victory over Scotland in their World Cup Qualification Group F clash at Wembley. While it’s hard to deny that Liverpool are currently faring extremely well without Sturridge, it would still be a tough call for the club to sell a player who has scored almost 60 goals since arriving at Anfield at the beginning of 2013.