By TTT Subscriber Dan Kennett.
It’s pretty difficult to assess any Daniel Sturridge season without starting with injuries. His first 50 Liverpool goals came in less playing time (6,355 minutes) than the 1st 50 for Fernando Torres (6,392) and Luis Suarez (7,587). The problem for Sturridge was it took 87 appearances spread across 1,200 days compared to 84 appearances over 652 days for Torres.
On the face of it, this season seems like more of the same with just seven goals from 1,193 minutes played. However a more detailed look at Sturridge’s actual availability this season paints a very different picture.
In the first 15 games up to Southampton away, Sturridge was not in the matchday squad just twice, but only started five of the 13 he was available for, coming on as a sub six times and being an unused sub twice. He didn’t score in the Premier League with all of his four goals coming in the League Cup (and all four when in partnership with Origi – more later). This period saw the peak of the “Sturridge doesn’t fit the system” narrative as Klopp’s gegenpressing machine with Bobby Firmino at centre forward were the best attacking team in Europe from August-November, even generating more attack than Real Madrid.
Sturridge then picked up a knock and missed the next five games in November/December, finally returning to the bench at Goodison Park just before Christmas. Coincidentally, this was the period that the LFC attacking juggernaut started to slow, particularly as opponents started to wise up to gegenpressing and tailor their approaches accordingly.
Sturridge’s finally broke his Premier League goal drought against Stoke at home in late December. It had started against Newcastle in late April and was the longest league drought of his Liverpool career, lasting a shade under 10 hours and 27 shots.
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