Daniel Sturridge’s quality as a striker has rarely been doubted and when it has, the doubts have been unjustified.
The roar around Anfield in response to him replacing Divock Origi in the 70th minute recognised just how much fans wanted to see the striker bag his first Premier League goal of the season.
It didn’t take long for that mutual wish to come true as the England star anticipated Ryan Shawcross’ dreadful back pass before rounding goalkeeping Lee Grant and slotting home to put his side 4-1 up within a minute of coming on.
Talk about having an immediate impact. It was a goal he needed and a goal he thoroughly deserved.
Jurgen Klopp has paid tribute to his player and his instinct as a forward, telling Liverpoolfc.com: “I was more than pleased, it was a perfect goal.”
“In a situation like this, 3-1 up but still intense, and then you can then use the quality Daniel has, that’s perfect. In this moment, you can learn a lot of things in life, but not being in this position in this moment – that’s natural and doing what he did was perfect.”
“It was a wonderful goal. It was very, very important because it closed the game and gave us the opportunity to cool down a little bit.”
A Sturridge strike topped off what was both an impressive and crucial win and was undoubtedly the most pleasing of the four goals that Liverpool put past Stoke.
His patience has been admirable and he now finally has something to take some confidence from and something to build on moving forward.
Even if it doesn’t always pay off, Sturridge predicts that back pass more often than not and deserves a lot more credit than he gets for playing with that kind of intelligence.
A late Christmas present for Reds fans but one that was worth the wait.