Liverpool: Why Daniel Sturridge Could Be the Signing of the Season
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Liverpool might still be licking their wounds after the FA Cup humbling at Oldham on Sunday, but there are still signs that the team is moving in the right direction as Daniel Sturridge begins to find his feet at Anfield.
The England international joined the Reds on Jan. 2 from Chelsea for an undisclosed fee and immediately began to win the supporters over with a goal on his debut against Mansfield Town in the FA Cup third round.
His debut goal might have been overshadowed by the controversy surrounding strike partner Luis Suarez's winning goal against the non-league side, but the 23-year-old is already proving to be a great piece of business for Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers.
Sturridge struggled to break into the first team at Manchester City before joining Chelsea in 2009 where he also found a regular first-team berth hard to come by.
But the forward was immediately given his debut by Rodgers and has since rewarded his manager with three goals in his first three matches.
The 3-2 defeat at League One strugglers Oldham Athletic was a major blot on the copybook of everyone at Anfield, but the Suarez-Sturridge axis was not at fault for the embarrassing loss.
In fact, both players emerged with some credit from the Boundary Park humbling, particularly Sturridge. The young striker may not have been happy with the attentions of Oldham defender Cliff Byrne, but he continued to look for ways around the home defence.
Sturridge recognised the need to adapt his game and went shoulder-to-shoulder with the Oldham backline in a positive move to change the way the game was going.
Until Sturridge arrived at Anfield, it is fair to say Suarez was almost single-handedly gaining Liverpool points. The Daily Mail outlined in November how Liverpool would have been second bottom in the Premier League without the Uruguay international's contribution to the first half of the season.
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Sturridge is playing a more central role than Suarez at Liverpool, which is allowing the South American to roam across the frontline of the Liverpool attack, a role which plays into his elusive and dangerous nature around the penalty area.
Sturridge is also demonstrating a developing understanding with Suarez, with the movement and passing between the two forwards proving to be the downfall of Norwich City in Liverpool's 5-0 rout earlier this month.
The England international may still have plenty to prove, but relieving Suarez of the striking burden at Anfield and allowing the Uruguayan to play to his own strengths marks Sturridge as a potential signing of the season.
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