Daniel Sturridge showed he is still an important player for Liverpool with a goalscoring return to Liverpool’s starting line-up. The England striker started his first game since he scored twice in Liverpool’s 6-1 victory over Southampton in the League Cup last year.
Aston Villa were once again very poor and it only took Sturridge 16 minutes to get on the score-sheet. The England striker headed home from a perfectly weighted cross from Philippe Coutinho to get his third league goal of the season in what was only his second start under Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.
Liverpool have been lacking a striker this season who can fit in with Jurgen Klopp’s style of play. Christian Benteke has spent most of his time on the bench recently, with Klopp preferring to use Firmino as the focal point of attack. Klopp likes to have a striker with flair and Sturridge has showed how much Liverpool have missed his influence on the team.
Brendan Rodgers could potentially still be the Liverpool manager if Sturridge was fully fit this season. Liverpool have been lacking goals this season and I don’t see Benteke having much of a future at Liverpool. Sturridge has the potential to form a deadly partnership with Coutinho and if they stay fit, they could elevate Liverpool to the top four positions next season. The Champions League positions are out of reach for Liverpool this season, but these two will have a massive impact on determining where Liverpool finish this season.
Sturridge is more important to Liverpool than just for his goals, Jurgen Klopp believes he is a complete striker. “Of course, we need the goals of Daniel and he needs the goals – that’s clear,” said Klopp. “But for me it is not [just about being] a striker, he can score of course, but how in tune he is with the team, his movements. “He’s a real striker, that’s really good to see.
“On the pitch it’s really difficult to defend if he’s always somewhere and you don’t know where he is on the pitch, and that’s of course very important for us.”
Klopp and his medical staff have insisted Sturridge would not be rushed back and the wait looks to have paid off. The striker was an unused substitute against Sunderland last week, he came on as a substitute in the FA Cup replay defeat at West Ham and he showed the Liverpool fans a glimpse of what they had been missing. Klopp gave Sturridge just over an hour before being withdrawn with the Reds 3-0 ahead.
Two seasons ago Liverpool came the closest they have been to winning the Premier League in years. Sturridge led the attack with Suarez and Sterling, with the latter two no longer at the club. Steven Gerrard was also a key figure that year and he has also left the club. For Liverpool to be competing for trophies over the next few years; Klopp needs to build his team around Coutinho and Sturridge because he is still a very important player for Liverpool.