Liverpool Lore: Looking back at the dynamic Daniel Sturridge

  • When fit, Daniel Sturridge was a handful for defenders while at Liverpool
  • He formed a ferocious partnership with Luis Suarez 
  • It was injuries that slowed his meteoric rise in Red more than once
Liverpool v Everton - Premier League
Liverpool v Everton - Premier League / Laurence Griffiths/GettyImages

We have reached another Friday which means it's time for the next "Liverpool Lore". Today's focus is going to be a on a relatively recent player that almost unlocked his full potential, but only almost.

Injuries and circumstance conspired to hamper him at the end, but at his peak, Daniel Sturridge was a scintillating player to watch.

He had plenty of highs that we will cover in this article as we look back at the Englishman's time at Anfield.

Joining from a rival with loads of untapped potential

Liverpool signed Daniel Sturridge on Janurary 2, 2013. He was their first arrival of the winter transfer window and it came in the midst of what would end up being a 6th place finish in the Premier League.

He was 23-years old when he signed for the Reds as their "Robin" to the "Batman" that was the mercurial Luis Suarez. Andy Carroll was already on loan elsewhere and the scoring burden needed an extra boost.

While his chances were limited while at Chelsea, he had a prolific loan spell with Bolton Wanderers that showed what he could do when given a proper run as he netted 8 goals from 12 matches. He somehow scored 11 goals while rarely being used properly with the Blues upon his return.

The Reds scooped him up in the hopes he would take his game to the next level with the proper dedication and training. They were right.

Sturridge had a scorching start to his Reds career as he scored in each of his first three appearances before ultimately finishing with a very healthy 10 goals from 16 total games. He punctuated this half-season with a dynamic hat-trick against Fulham.

Leveling up and near Premier League glory

The 2013-14 season began with Suarez on a ten-game ban once again for his wild antics, which meant the Reds turned to "Studge" to lead the line. Boy would he do just that as he scored the first goal of the season in a Premier League opening 1-0 win over Stoke City.

He would stay red-hot with six goals from the first six matches as he showed the football world what he was truly capable of when an attack was run through him.

His blistering pace, dynamic dribbling and truly instinctual finishing meant he was a darn near complete forward. The return of Suarez only amplified both their games as it was clear they were pushing each other to be better.

The S&S strike partnership was the most lethal and productive in the Premier League during that season.

While Liverpool would collapse at the end, it was through no fault of the attack as Sturridge himself would bag 22 goals and 7 assists in the league that season. He had an additional 3 goals in other comps.

The injuries return and begin mounting

He only played 18 total times the following season as he was ravaged by injuries which stopped his rapid rise in its tracks.

This was followed by hip surgery as he tried to permanently put the issues behind him. With Jurgen Klopp now in charge, the German took a slow-burn approach to make sure Sturridge was at his peak whenever he took the pitch.

This saw him record a 13-goal return in all comps from 25 appearances. He scored the only Liverpool goal in the 2016 Europa League Final defeat to Sevilla.

Daniel Sturridge
Liverpool v Sevilla - UEFA Europa League Final / Catherine Ivill - AMA/GettyImages

More injuries following this meant Klopp began relying on other forward options such as Sadio Mane who had just been signed from Southampton and Roberto Firmino who was cementing a place of his own up top.

Then came a certain Egyptian winger which mean attacking chances became even more difficult to come by and Sturridge was sent on loan as a result.

More injuries would follow on his loan spell which was not what he was looking for.

The final hurrah and Liverpool departure

Klopp spoke highly of Sturridge following a strong pre-season heading into the 2018-19 season. He was able to stay fit, but once again, had fallen so far down the pecking order that Divock Origi was preferred over him on most occasions.

He would play 27 times but mostly as a substitute and he was not able to take his limited chances as his elite finishing had left him at this stage.

He did get to celebrate the 2019 Champions League triumph but that would be his final act as Liverpool player.

His contract wound down and he left the club after making 160 appearances for Liverpool with a return of 68 goals and 20 assists.

He was clearly a very gifted player that could never escape the injury bug and he did quite well to provide the return that he did.

His 2013/14 season will still be remembered fondly by Reds fans as it was clear he was never better before or after that season. He fell behind what would become the best attacking trio in the world so there is no shame there either.

"Studge" scored some outstanding goals, left us breathless on more than one occasion and was at Liverpool long enough to bride the ending of Brendan Rodgers with the beginning of the Klopp era.

He played the best football of his career for the Reds and that is all we can ask for as fans.