Why Daniel Sturridge Can’t be the Only Back-Up to Firmino

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Dear Daniel.

I just can’t do it anymore. I thought it would be different, but it wasn’t. You let me down again. I should know better by now, but I keep thinking that things might have changed. Year after year, I thought you would be back to your old self, but as much as you tried you just couldn’t do it. We both pretended it was the same and that nothing had changed, but we need to face the hard cold truth that you can never go back. We live in the now, not the past.

I guess we are both different people now but you aren’t the same guy as you were in 2013-14 and I have changed as well. I kept thinking that we could go back to the way things were, you would be the same as you were and everything would be alright again.

The longer we leave it, the more it will hurt the both of us. I think I need to be the brave one, the bad guy if you will and tell you that it’s the end for us. I will never forget you, but I will always wonder what if…

This is how I imagine Reds’ fans might write a Dear John letter to Daniel Sturridge. We were all prepared to part ways with the striker who was the fourth-quickest post-war player to reach 50 goals for the reds.

It felt like things had came to a natural albeit sad end. When Daniel left on loan to go to West Brom last season it felt like the end game, like the sad ending to a story whose plot had been ruined by an unforeseen death of its protagonist in the first chapter.

I, like all Liverpool fans, have been delighted with Daniel’s form in the friendlies and he is saying all of the right things in his interviews, but I believe that Daniel should be seen as a bonus rather than the man that we are relying on to cover Roberto Firmino.

In all honesty, it is not fair on the player either given his fitness issues over the past few years. Let me get one thing straight, I like Daniel Sturridge. When Sturridge was signed in January 2013 there were doubters and people on the fence. Some thought that the club would have been better to have signed Demba Ba for around the same fee. However, Sturridge’s chemistry with Phil Coutinho was at times breathtaking. What followed then in 2013-14 was a magnificent season with Luis Suarez. Honestly, the man took my breath away. He was that type of player that seemed to have that extra second on the ball, that extra moment of time which meant that he could pick a pass, make time for a shot, or use his pace to stretch the opposition defence.

That player of 2013-14 doesn’t really exist anymore. He seems to have lost that extra yard of pace that is so essential for a striker to get beyond the last man. This is why this experiment of playing Sturridge as a number 10, or behind the striker is an intriguing one. Daniel’s quality on the ball or raw ability has never been in question.

Having watched the Reds in pre-season, one thing that has stood out has been fan’s belief in Daniel Sturridge. They have seen him play well against both lower opposition sides and Premier League sides in friendly fixtures. Fans are desperate for Daniel Sturridge to succeed. He has been written off so many times in the past due to not being able to stay fit but yet again there is hope.

Hope is a fine quality but we live in the real world and based on past experience, Daniel’s body may break down again. The lad can’t help it; it is just his body letting him down. It would be nice to dream that things may be different this time, and you know what, they might be, but we cannot rely on that.  Daniel Sturridge must be seen as a bonus, not the main backup for Roberto Firmino, we need another signing before the window slams shut on Thursday.

Nobody will be happier than me if I am wrong about Daniel Sturridge, but it is a risk that not worth taking to have him as the main backup for Firmino. We need to use our heads and not our hearts if we are to successfully challenge for the title this season. Having an adequate replacement for Firmino will be the first step.

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