Phil Thompson, our former captain and Assistant Manager, has discussed the possibility of replacing Daniel Sturridge because of the striker’s incredibly frustrating injury record.
The 26-year-old missed almost the entirety of last season with a debilitating hip problem, and has only made three appearances in the top flight this term, with new manager Jurgen Klopp so far unable to call upon our star forward.
In 2013/14, the Englishman plundered 21 goals in the Premier League, and since arriving from Chelsea in January the campaign before, he’s bagged 37 in 58 matches – making him the most lethal Liverpool striker in the competition’s history in terms of goals to minutes.
But the fact he’s only played 58 of a possible 105 games is just as telling a statistic.
“He is what we need and what’s been missing,” Thompson said on Soccer Saturday.
“But if he’s not playing, and every week he’s missing far more games, then I think there’s going to be question marks over him.
“With these owners who work on the moneyball situation, how many minutes you are on the pitch, how much you’re getting paid… is somebody out there better? And that’s where it comes.”
“If he’s nearly ready and got a bit of swelling he’s got to play in the game because you can see how much he’s missed, but the longer he keeps missing games under Brendan, then if he’s missing a lot of game under Jurgen, Dan’s going to be thinking ‘where do we go?’
“They’re going to have to maybe look for an upgrade on Daniel Sturridge come January, or after that, because you cannot keep going like this without having a person of his quality not on the pitch.”
It’s an interesting thought from Thompson and one that’s increasingly becoming the view of Liverpool supporters as well. While there’s nothing any of us want more than a fit and firing Sturridge, there has to be a point where we realise his injury problems are career defining. We stand by him because of his outrageous ability, but totally relying on the striker when he’s been available for just half our matches is a mistake too.
Christian Benteke was signed in the summer, but has his own injury problems to contend with and lacks Sturridge’s pace and raw skill anyway. A player with Sturridge’s ability and a clean bill of health will naturally be very hard and expensive to come by, but if he remains on the sidelines until Christmas, it’s something Klopp will need to consider.