Why Daniel Sturridge Is an Ideal Tactical Match for Liverpool
Brendan Rodgers' need for firepower is well documented, so the addition of the Chelsea man would be welcomed by most, but it's not a desperation signing—it's a perfect tactical fit.
Let's explore why.
The Rodgers Blueprint
Brendan Rodgers has a well-established setup at Liverpool.
He runs a free-flowing 4-3-3 formation, and each player needs to be technically skilled and comfortable on the ball.
Daniel Sturridge is one of the most confident players in the English Premier League despite a lack of playing time. His versatile game will allow him to play as a wide forward drifting inward or as a central striker dropping into pockets of space.
He's comfortable in any of the three positions across the forward line and is able to interchange all game long. This could become very tough to deal with for opposing defensive lines.
He's also great on the ball. When he's not trying fancy flicks, his pass completion percentage is pretty decent. At 85.9 percent in the EPL, it rates better than Fabio Borini's in Serie A and in England.
Unfortunately, ever since Fabio Borini broke his foot, Liverpool have lacked a winger who can come inside and use the space Luis Suarez creates.
The Italian wasn't exactly playing his best football anyway, but Stewart Downing hasn't been able to do what Brendan Rodgers wants while Oussama Assaidi hasn't been given the opportunity.
Joe Cole, too, has the potential to take advantage of these pockets. His goal against West Ham saw him exploit the space that good intricate play between Jonjo Shelvey and Raheem Sterling created—it's just a shame he doesn't do it on a regular basis.
Much-Needed Cutting Edge
Some may suggest at first that Daniel Sturridge's selfish play wouldn't sit well with Brendan Rodgers.
The Ulsterman favours teamwork and work rate above all else and likes his players to move the ball about with confidence. We've seen Steven Gerrard very much reined in from his usual direct self and it's really only Luis Suarez taking shots on goal.
Sturridge could come in and give Liverpool the selfish streak they desperately need without forfeiting the passing template.
Athletic Bilbao were lauded last season for playing spectacular possession-based football after decimating Manchester United, but they still housed ambitious shooters in Fernando Llorente and Iker Muniain.
Barcelona play the best football on the planet, but you've still got Lionel Messi embarking on mazy runs on a regular basis to provide a constant goal threat.
Can Sturridge be the Reds' "X-Factor"?
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