Daniel Sturridge Has Proved His Potential for Liverpool This Season

Mark JonesFeatured ColumnistMay 20, 2013

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MAY 19:   Nedum Onuoha of Queens Park Rangers competes with Daniel Sturridge of Liverpool during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Queens Park Rangers at Anfield on May 19, 2013 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

They were quite big weren’t they? The question marks that seemed to encompass all discussion over Daniel Sturridge’s move from Chelsea to Liverpool in January.

Well, they were big everywhere else but Anfield, where Brendan Rodgers was convinced that a player he had seen at close quarters throughout his youth career could go on to fulfil his potential over a long-term contract at a club who are now in a position where they need to take a few calculated risks on what they hope will be the road back to success.

Sturridge was―and let’s face it, still will be for many people―one of English football’s great enigmas: a player who looks like he can achieve so much if only he could screw his head on in the right direction.

His move to Liverpool and to a setting in which he was wanted and needed to do well surely appealed to the much-discussed ego within the forward, though.

After so long on the bench at Chelsea where he was considered as the understudy to first Didier Drogba, then Fernando Torres and sometimes both, here Sturridge had the chance to form a partnership with Luis Suarez, which will surely determine so much of what happens to Liverpool under Rodgers.

Whereas at Chelsea he was often described as selfish, here Sturridge had the opportunity to show that he was much more than that.

So far, he’s done all that and more.

With the campaign now closed, Sturridge can look back upon a hugely satisfactory total of 11 goals in his first 16 games for Liverpool, whilst he has also become the third fastest player to reach 10 Premier League strikes for the club after Robbie Fowler and Fernando Torres, and those two didn’t do too badly, did they?

There is still so, so much for the 23-year-old to see, learn and achieve with the Reds, of course, but it is already possible to see Sturridge as one of England’s main forwards at next summer’s World Cup finals in Brazil. His qualities certainly stack up favourably against the likes of Danny Welbeck, Andy Carroll and Jermain Defoe in any case.  

Not that Liverpool’s fans care much about the national team, of course. They are mostly concerned with seeing Sturridge succeed for their team on a regular basis.

His recent hat-trick at Fulham and the brace at Newcastle showed just what damage the forward can do when given space behind a defence who are determined to play a high line, but any description of him as merely a flat-track bully can be met with the counter argument of goals against Manchester United and former clubs Manchester City and Chelsea so soon into his Liverpool career.

Sturridge simply looks settled at Anfield, and Liverpool fans can only hope that their famous old ground is the forward’s home for years to come.

Perhaps it has been telling that he seems to have come to the fore even more in the wake of Suarez’s much-discussed suspension, but if that has helped Sturridge ease into the team even more then it can only be considered a good thing.

Of course, Liverpool are a much better team when their two premier goal-getters can play together, but you get the impression that Sturridge thrives more and more with increased pressure put upon him. That can surely only be promising in the long run.

That long-term outlook might not have been apparent with Sturridge’s career so far, but if his critics can take a step back and appreciate his potential, he could still win a few more people over yet.

Those question marks over him no longer exist at Anfield, though.

Perhaps they’ll disappear everywhere else soon too?