Like the rest of us, our former midfielder Jan Molby has realised that Daniel Sturridge is a much better player when he’s running in behind, but that recently – he continually comes short – even when deployed as a no.9.
Sturridge has come in for staunch criticism this January, although in truth his team-mates have been just as bad and in a few cases, worse.
Molby has encouraged Sturridge to go back to what he did best, which saw such brilliant results in yesteryear.
“We had a couple of chances in the second half at Anfield through Daniel Sturridge, but they were in pressurised situations. Southampton created the clear-cut openings,” Molby wrote in his weekly Liverpool Echo column.
“Two years ago, Sturridge might have buried those chances. But he’s not in great form at present, and it’s plain to see.”
“Sturridge when he came back into the side after his long injury lay-off seemed to want to feel his way back in by getting involved and getting on the ball. He started coming a lot deeper and looking for it, and I am not sure he’s shaken that habit off yet.
“For me, he needs to spend the entire game on the half-turn, threatening in behind, making those runs. He’s still capable, he still knows where the space is, but I’d like to see him use it more.”
This sounds fantastic, but it doesn’t question why Sturridge has changed his style in the first place… Sky Sports proved that the forward has got slower since his injuries, every season since 2013/14 fact.
Sturridge must know he’s more effective when he offers an option in behind and dynamic movement down the channels, so why’s he coming short?
It’s either because he’s simply lost his pace, or that he hasn’t got the confidence in his legs anymore.
As fans, we should hope it’s the latter, because that gives us hope Sturridge could re-find it – but looking back at past strikers (Fernando Torres, Michael Owen) it doesn’t look likely.
Thankfully, despite what we saw on Wednesday, he’s still a great finisher and can win a game thanks to his ability in front of goal. Whether he has a long-term future at Liverpool though, is less certain.