Premier League: Daniel Sturridge looks destined to stay in Liverpool’s supporting cast

Premier League: Daniel Sturridge looks destined to stay in Liverpool’s supporting cast

The sign flashing around John Smith’s Stadium was advertising ‘unbelievably fast objects’. It’s a new kind of football boot apparently.

Daniel Sturridge could never claim to fall in to that category. The Liverpool forward is no slouch but over the course of his career Sturridge’s advantage has more often than not been the speed of his thoughs.

Sturridge remains a clever, talented footballer. The problem is that he has not always looked to be a Jurgen Klopp kind of footballer. He has never been fit long enough for a start and when he has been available he has not always looked capable of playing his manager’s brand of high-tempo, energetic football.

Daniel Sturridge (centre) played the full 90 minutes as Liverpool won 1-0 at Huddersfield Town

Daniel Sturridge (centre) played the full 90 minutes as Liverpool won 1-0 at Huddersfield Town

Daniel Sturridge (centre) played the full 90 minutes as Liverpool won 1-0 at Huddersfield Town

Sturridge did okay but failed to stake a claim for a more regular starting spot in the Reds attack

Sturridge did okay but failed to stake a claim for a more regular starting spot in the Reds attack

Sturridge did okay but failed to stake a claim for a more regular starting spot in the Reds attack

Here in West Yorkshire, Sturridge got another chance due to the fact that regular No 9 Roberto Firmino was in need of a rest. The former Chelsea player did not flunk the exam but nor did he provide compelling evidence that he should be retained.

Sturridge has already scored some good goals this season and the one he contributed to in the last minute to earn a point at Chelsea last month was spectacular. He remains more than capable of making an impact in his own way.

Nevertheless, Liverpool are not always as effective when he is asked to play from the start. At 29, Sturridge does not press the ball as effectively or eagerly as Klopp needs his first line of defence to do. This means that the opposition sometimes have time to build their own periods of possession. That was a luxury afforded Huddersfield too often here.

Liverpool’s pressing stats are down this season and that is deliberate. When they are leading later on in games, Klopp has asked his team to sit a little deeper off the ball and attempt to see out time rather than commit themselves in positions that carry risk. It makes sense.

Sturridge, though, is not suited to the concept at all. When he turns on the ball and faces up defenders he remains very dangerous. He has vision and can pass, too, as he showed when playing Mo Salah in for a run on goal midway through the second half.

Striker Sturridge was shown a yellow card by referee Michael Oliver at John Smith's Stadium

Striker Sturridge was shown a yellow card by referee Michael Oliver at John Smith's Stadium

Striker Sturridge was shown a yellow card by referee Michael Oliver at John Smith’s Stadium

Jurgen Klopp rested No 9 Roberto Firmino but played him for the final 15 minutes of the match

Jurgen Klopp rested No 9 Roberto Firmino but played him for the final 15 minutes of the match

Jurgen Klopp rested No 9 Roberto Firmino but played him for the final 15 minutes of the match

But when Huddersfield had the ball in their own half, he was simply never likely to be the one to win it back.

This was an important win for Liverpool on a day when they were missing players and were not at their best. As well as Sturridge, this was a team including Xherdan Shaqiri and Adam Lallana.

Of the three, Shaqiri was the most impressive and effective. He provided the pass for Salah’s goal in the first half and was a dangerous presence from wide positions throughout the 90 minutes. The Swiss forward did not always receive the service he deserved and often made ground into good positions only to see the ball funnelled the other way.

Used mainly as a substitute since his summer move from Stoke City, Shaqiri appears to be learning what Klopp wants from him and his efforts in his own half of the field were noticeable here.

The truth of life under Klopp is quite simple. If you change to play his way then you will in all likelihood prosper, If you don’t – or you simply can’t – then you are destined for life in the supporting cast.

Xherdan Shaqiri, pictured in the red kit of Liverpool, claimed a stylish assist to help his team

Xherdan Shaqiri, pictured in the red kit of Liverpool, claimed a stylish assist to help his team

Xherdan Shaqiri, pictured in the red kit of Liverpool, claimed a stylish assist to help his team

Shaqiri congratulated No 11 Mohamed Salah after the Egyptian converted his pass into a goal

Shaqiri congratulated No 11 Mohamed Salah after the Egyptian converted his pass into a goal

Shaqiri congratulated No 11 Mohamed Salah after the Egyptian converted his pass into a goal



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