Danny Murphy insists there is no better back-up striker than Daniel Sturridge in the Premier League right now.
The Liverpool man plastered his name on the back pages at the weekend after supplying a stunning 89th minute equaliser against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
His immediate impact off the bench served as a beacon of the confidence he is playing with, as well as foregrounding the strength in depth Jurgen Klopp has at his disposal.
On a day when Liverpool’s explosive front three were misfiring, Sturridge was at hand to offer his rather unique touch of individual ingenuity.
Former Red Murphy now believes the striker can be a valuable asset as his side pursue Premier League title glory.
He told talkSPORT: “He’s a natural finisher, he scores all types of goals and what he’s got that most other forwards haven’t is total self-belief. He’s so capable. He’s a match-winner and a sensational player.”
“For me, he’s the best second striker in the Premier League by a mile. Gabriel Jesus has dipped a bit and you could argue Marcus Rashford maybe, but he’s not as naturally gifted a goalscorer as Sturridge in the box.”
He added: “If Liverpool can keep Sturridge fit and keep him happy, by giving him plenty of minutes off the bench and get him starting in certain games in the league and cups, he could be the difference. He’ll get 20 goals this season if he gets the games.”
Sturridge’s strike against Chelsea saw him become the Reds’ joint-top scorer on four with Sadio Mane, as well as the seventh player to register 50 Premier League goals for Liverpool.
The 29-year-old has already proven to be an important option for Klopp’s side, supplying the opener in the Champions League win over Paris Saint-Germain in the absence of Roberto Firmino.
His scoring start to the campaign follows an admirable resurgence during the club’s pre-season after it had looked as though his career on Merseyside might have been drawing to a close.
To go from enduring a miserable and injury-stricken loan spell with West Brom earlier in the year to being tipped for a return to the England setup recognises the extent of his summer turnaround.
For the heartbreak of his cruel and recurring injury setbacks, he deserves an undisrupted season in which to flaunt his undisputed talent.