With talk emerging that Daniel Sturridge could return to the Liverpool side ready for the Manchester United fixture in three weeks’ time, I wanted to take a look at what our injured striker has to offer.
Last season he only managed to feature on 12 occasions, but alongside Luis Suarez he was one half of a formidable partnership. Can he reignite that spark with his new team-mate Christian Benteke?
In the 2013-14 season, Sturridge made 29 appearances scoring 21 goals in the process. He did more than reach double figures though, on 22 occasions that season he made a key pass that led to an attempt at goal and directly assisted seven times. This record suggests a relationship between Benteke and the England international up front could be mutually beneficial as both players poach for goals.
Heavily reliant on his left foot, it’s no surprise that 14 of Sturridge’s goals that season came from his favoured side. Fortunately, Benteke much prefers to shoot on his right and he himself collected seven goals on his favoured side last season. A partnership between the two could cause a multitude of problems for an opposition who will be unable to cope with the variety of routes to goal available.
Like Sturridge, Benteke is also a supportive player – the ex-Aston Villa forward recorded 33 key passes last season. Our number 15 will surely relish the opportunity to play up front with a player looking to assist where possible and his goal tally will hopefully increase because of it.
Last season, unfortunately due to injuries, Sturridge was only able to play in 12 games, he did however collect four goals in the process, one on his left foot, two on his right and one headed effort. Again he was relatively unselfish, directly assisting once and offering ten key passes.
On top of the 25-year-old’s obvious ability in front of goal, he also consistently performs when it comes to passing accuracy – for a forward who has to distribute in often dangerous areas a passing accuracy rate of 79% I feel is very strong. He isn’t muscled off the ball easily and can also win his team precious time in the box.
Liverpool are certainly missing the Sturridge factor, even though we are only two games in it definitely feels as though we require that spark. Coutinho has offered glimmers of magic as he does every season but there is always something special about watching Daniel Sturridge on the ball. He puts fear into the eyes of the opposition and I can’t wait to see him back doing “The Studge”.
The downfall for me is that whilst on paper a Benteke and Sturridge partnership looks glorious, in practice it could be something very different. Both players are forwards, both are looking to impress and both obviously want to score goals – I just hope they have the intelligence to support each other.
Pass the ball when it’s a better option, don’t try and take on half the defence. I suppose on that matter we’ll just have to wait and see but I can’t deny that I am very, very excited at the prospect of us finally returning to playing two up top!