Daniel Sturridge is officially a member of Liverpool after completing a move from Chelsea, according to the club's official site. It's an early statement from Reds manager Brendan Rodgers after his team's slow start to the season.
Liverpool have shown signs of improvement recently, working their way back up into 10th place. Adding Sturridge should provide a boost to the Reds' attack, which has lacked serious contributors outside of top scorer Luis Suarez.
The 23-year-old England international fell out of favor at Stamford Bridge and battled a hamstring injury, a combination of which kept him sidelined since the middle of November. So it's no surprise he's happy to get a fresh start at Anfield.
Brendan Rodgers said he sees me here for a long time - and I also see myself here for a long time. I've not signed here to play for a couple of years and then move on.
I've signed to be here for as long as possible. It's a humongous club - for me, one of the biggest in the world - and to have the fans and world-class players we have here is amazing.
Potential is a word that has followed Sturridge around since his days with Manchester City. Those around the sport were enamored with his natural abilities, including terrific speed, which led to sky-high expectations being placed on his shoulders.
So far, he's struggled to match that high standard. The striker, who can also excel on the wing, scored 24 goals in 96 appearances across all competitions for Chelsea. While that's a respectable total, it's not on the game-changing level the club expected.
The talent is still evident. Sturridge is strong on the ball and can unleash some rockets with his left foot. But it seems like he's spent his entire career so far trying to live up to the hype, which has had a negative impact on his overall play.
Joining the Reds should help. Since the club isn't contending for a Premier League title this season, he can enter an environment without having to deal with a spotlight on him at all times. It will allow him to focus on getting better instead of the outside distractions.
The most important thing will be developing chemistry with Suarez. The opportunity is there for them to become a dangerous one-two punch for the Reds, but it's going to take some time before Sturridge is able to regain his form after the long layoff.
In order to fit with Suarez, Sturridge must focus on improving his distribution game. Since his new teammate will remain the go-to target, it's crucial the Birmingham native learns to play through Suarez. It's the only way they can thrive together.
The other thing Sturridge needs to work on is adding more variety to his game. The book is out on him. Defenders know he loves to cut to the inside before letting loose a quick strike, and they are prepared to stop him.
Elite players can keep defenders on their toes. When they are on the attack the back line isn't sure if they are going to cut inside or outside. The same goes for shooting or passing. Some versatility could really take Sturridge to the next level.
Nothing is stopping him from taking that next step. He just has to arrive at Anfield and work hard to make it happen. His previous experiences will help him, even though they didn't work out as well as everybody hoped.
Signing Sturridge was a risk worth taking for the Reds. The club has a strong attacking base among him, Suarez and rising star Raheem Sterling. Patience will be necessary while the pieces fall into place, but there's certainly reason for optimism.
Sturridge is a major reason for that.
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