Daniel Sturridge

Daniel Sturridge
Image from: hiilkubad.com

Liverpool and England striker Daniel Sturridge has had a long road to establish himself as a top striker in the Premiership, and it took a move to LFC to finally see him take a leading role on a regular basis. After initially emerging from Manchester City's academy, following spells with Coventry City and Aston Villa before joining Citeh, a dispute over playing time saw him refuse to sign a new contract.

A move to Chelsea failed to establish him as first choice and he was sent out on loan to Bolton Wanderers for the second part of the 2010/11 season. Returning to Chelsea again saw him struggling to hold down a place, and eventually, a window after Liverpool first tried to get him, he joined the Reds in January 2013.

At first the same issues surfaced that had been used to criticise him in the past, his selfishness on the ball being a particular stick used to beat him repeatedly. By the end of the season, he had established a good partnership with Luis Suarez, where the selfishness was actually coming from the Uruguayan, as Sturridge showed that he can be a team player.

Finally Sturridge started to live up to his potential, his blistering pace and incredible acceleration suddenly had a purpose, he was using his skill allied with that pace to get in dangerous positions, and he was making good decisions on when to pass and when to shoot, mostly. Even his workrate was there, he was pressing defenders, chasing back when a team mate was caught upfield and genuinely looking like a team player.

How much of his performance was down to Suarez's brilliance we were unable to find out last season, as injuries meant Sturridge was unable to get going last season. Injuries are probably the biggest issue with Daniel Sturridge, they are always lurking there, as they often are for players with such explosive pace.

There are other issues with him, his bravery in an aerial battle leaves a lot to be desired, despite his height he very rarely wins a header against a defender's challenge. He really does not want to put his head in where it hurts at all.

Sturridge's ability is on the ball is what makes him such a good striker, rather than his heading, or he would not have become the face of a well known fast food company, nor would the Sturridge dance be so well known. Cross the ball to his head and there is every chance it will not end up in the back of the net, though he does have good control with his head, the issue is his head will not be put in there to get to it.

If Sturridge can maintain his selflessness when paired with lesser strikers than Suarez, then he can be virtually unstoppable on the ball. It is not just that incredible burst of acceleration that leaves everyone for dead, it is also the skill, the delicate touch to slip it through a defender's legs or a quick shimmy that sends them the wrong way.

He is also capable of seeing a runner and playing an inch perfect pass to them, so even getting him stood up still and dropping off to block a run is not a solution to ending him as a threat. Sturridge now has defenders unable to be sure what to do if left one on one with him, as he can pick a pass, play a little flick or just run at them with his quick feet.

With the ability to go either side, though his left foot is much stronger he is perfectly capable of shooting or crossing with his right, he has become an extremely dangerous forward. Or at least, a dangerous forward when fit, which is the issue that most needs to be addressed for his future.

Sturridge is not someone you can lump the ball up to and he will hold it up and give the defence and midfield time to move forward, while he uses his strength to hold off defenders. He will never provide that for your team, he does not have the strength or the build for it.

What he really wants is a ball to run on to, using his incredible acceleration and pace to burst onto it, or a ball in to feet, where he can drop a should, do a little shimmy, a quick one two, use his skill to create space or play in a team mate. The lone forward role is not one that suits him, he needs people around him, offering him options, rather than being isolated and expected to do it all alone.

A partnership is needed to get the best out of Sturridge, not necessarily with a partner as good as Suarez, just someone he can work with and build a good understanding. Sturridge likes to play the quick one twos, the cute little flick ons, the dummies to allow his partner to get the ball, those are what he does at his best.

One thing is for sure, his uncle Dean was never this good.