Daniel Sturridge has given an enlightening interview in which he discusses his mindset as we enter the new season.
Sadly, it looks like our star striker is not in a perfect place ahead of 2016/17 – annoyed that journalists seem to focus on his injuries – which he says has an adverse effect on his ability to perform.
“I feel like I’m under the microscope. It’s a case of, ‘What’s going on with Daniel?’ It should be a case of, ‘What’s happening with Liverpool?’ I’m part of the team and that’s it. If I have a little niggle, why should it overshadow Liverpool? Missing a game against Barcelona [last Saturday], was very minor, nothing serious, and that [his hip] is going to heal up very fast,” he told an exclusive interview for the Times.
“Not everyone is as strong as I am. But it’s down to reporters to understand that what they write does have an effect on footballers. It’s not something that’s chip-shop paper, like, ‘Oh yeah, I’ll write this, tomorrow I’ll get a headline, the player won’t mind about it, he doesn’t care.’ Every player cares about what a reporter writes. It affects just not them but their family, the fans’ perception, the club’s perception. You [reporters] should be more responsible.
“I’ve played with many injuries, many a tear, many a bruise. As you get to my age, you understand what you can’t do when your body is at its limit, when you can’t push a muscle strain, when you can’t push a bruise. There’s wear and tear. You play the game, you’re knackered, you can’t lift your legs but the next day, you get up and you go running again, you go playing again. You might get a kick the day before the game but you’re not going to pull out of the match.
“I’ve always pushed myself, always wanted to be successful, always strived to be recognised as one of the best strikers in the world. I don’t worry about injuries at all.”
Sturridge is undeniably a sublimely talented forward. His skill, trickery pace but above all his finishing set him apart, and on his day – he’s a good as anything in Europe.
In terms of goals to games, his record is fantastic, but the 26-year-old simply hasn’t played enough games for Liverpool in the three and a half seasons he’s been at the club.
This season will likely be the making of Sturridge. He’s not entering it fully fit, but his current hip problem is a niggle rather than anything more worrying – although it’s perhaps telling that Roberto Firmino will play today versus Arsenal up top.
The Brazilian works terrifically hard and brings others into the game, while Divock Origi provides pace power and a similar work-rate.
Ironically, it may be the case that when Sturridge is finally earned regular fitness, Klopp has found a different option up top for his side.