Despite not being a Jurgen Klopp favorite, Daniel Sturridge did his part as Liverpool bounced back from a tough loss by beating Huddersfield 3-0. Missing some key players and playing poorly in the first half, it was about the best the team could ask for at this point.
Sturridge scored his second goal of the season, and his first since August 27, when he played a late part in Liverpool’s 4-0 win over Arsenal, perhaps the last time this season anyone thought of them as title contenders. The win over Huddersfield was their first in October, the previous one coming in late September, when Sturridge helped with an assist to beat Leicester 3-2.
With Philippe Coutinho and Sadio Mane out with injuries, not to mention Adam Lallana still waiting to make his debut this season, Sturridge was bound to be part of the front three. For the first 45 minutes, it looked bad. It wasn’t just the English striker, somehow already 28, but the first half was a compilation of everything that’s made Sturridge a constant transfer rumor since Klopp arrived at Anfield: Frustrating decision making in the danger areas. Injuries have taken their toll on his quickness, but his inability or unwillingness to press like others has always made him the odd man out when Klopp sits down to pick a lineup.
A long ball directed toward Roberto Firmino was sent to Sturridge by the Huddersfield defense, and while there have been criticisms about plenty of his qualities in the last three years, Sturridge has always been a terrific finisher in front of goal. He didn’t do much afterwards, but he didn’t need to. Liverpool looked much livelier and free once they had the lead. As if Sturridge’s goal broke the depression gripping them since the 4-1 loss to Spurs.
Sturridge has bounced around in the Premier League, playing for Manchester City, Chelsea, Bolton and now with Liverpool. While he hasn’t played much in the last few years due to injuries and falling out of favor with Klopp, he hasn’t played for any other club as much as he had for Liverpool. His best stretch, one and a half seasons after arriving in January 2013, included 31 league goals in 43 matches. Times were good for him under Brendan Rodgers.
Sturridge will never be Luis Suarez, and the promise of becoming a special English striker, the kind of promise he showed during brief moments in his time with Manchester City, isn’t going to be fulfilled. But there’s room for Sturridge in a Liverpool side trying to get back in the top 4 club. A little bit of Klopp and him making strides towards each other can go a long way for a team too often playing without a natural striker, which at the current situation they can’t afford to do.