After all of the rumours, the possible summer transfer, the talk about wages, the talk about clauses being written into his contract, Daniel Sturridge has finally signed for Liverpool. The club announced the signing on the first day of the January transfer window.
Sturridge said of his signing, to Liverpool’s website, “I am humbled and happy to be here. Brendan Rodgers said he sees me here for a long time, and I also see myself here for a long time. I’ve not signed here to play for a couple of years and then move on”.
“It’s a humongous club- for me, one of the biggest in the world- and to have the fans and world-class players we have here is amazing” the young lad certainly talks a good game.
After months of trailing Sturridge, Brendan Rodgers now has signed the player he sought for in the summer. Clearly Rodgers sees something in him and believes he can improve Liverpool’s fortunes.
There have been murmurs that Liverpool are taking a big risk signing Daniel and he is not the type of player Liverpool should be looking at, yet it is clear that Rodgers believes he is. The talk that the signing is a risk can be understood, but what signing is ever an assured one?
Every transfer has an element of risk to it, (Torres anyone?). Yet for all the talk of this being a risk for Liverpool, it is in fact a great move for both player and club and a move that possible success far outweighs the risk factor.
Technically Sturridge fits the bill, he is comfortable on the ball, has good control, possesses good skill, has an eye for goal and is mobile, all traits that Rodgers looks for in a signing. We have heard a lot from Rodgers about the style and philosophy he wants his Liverpool team to play and clearly he would not sign somebody that was not capable of fitting into this system.
Impact on Suarez
We’ve seen glimpses of his brilliance from time to time. Hopefully he settles in fairly quickly and forms a partnership with Suarez. Which brings me to my next point, the Suarez and Sturridge partnership.
I have heard many people ask, will Suarez be moved from the current central position he is playing, and playing to devasating effect, to a wide position to accommodate Daniel, but I ask does it really matter where he plays?
Suarez has the ability to play in any position and still wreak havoc. We know Rodgers does not go for the typical centre forward, Andy Carroll being the perfect example, and Sturridge would not be classified as a typical centre forward.
The new phenomenon of the ‘false 9’ role applies to Liverpool and this signing has shown Rodgers wants to continue this style of attacking play. So whether Suarez is moved out to the right or continues to play through the middle, he will certainly continue to score goals, if moved out right will he score as many as he has? Perhaps not, but he will certainly provide chances for Sturridge if he is given the central role. With Suarez being a team player, he would happily score less and create chances for Daniel to score if it meant the team wins.
The common criticism of Daniel is that he is greedy, but are strikers not meant to be a tad selfish and aim to score with every chance they have? If he were to pass the ball every time he was presented with an opportunity he would be criticised for being too nice and not hungry enough, so how can he silence the critics? By playing well and scoring.
Despite not playing regularly and often coming on as a substitute he managed to score 24 goals in 96 games for Chelsea. Now at Liverpool, and being given a regular and important role in the side, the spot light will be on him to score even more, but with such players as Gerrard and Suarez around him, he certainly has the platform to perform.
The media have reported that Sturridge only wants to play as a striker and does not want to be out wide, and it was even reported that he wanted that written into his contract, but have we ever heard him come out and say that? I do not doubt for one second that he would prefer to play through the middle, but to say he has said he only wants to play through the middle is ridiculous. In fact, in an interview in March 2012, Sturridge said of playing out wide, “I definitely think playing out wide will improve me… Henry played wide for Juventus and then went to Arsenal and played as a centre-forward”.
If that is not enough proof as to his willingness to play wide if required, he said at his signing for Liverpool, “I see myself as a striker…but I have played on the wing and have learned a lot doing so… I’d never refuse to play in that position”. Sounding very mature, he added “Whatever the manger wants me to do I will do it and work as hard as I can for the club and the fans”.
From his quotes, it is clear, he feels his best position is through the middle, but he is more than happy to play out wide if required. Sturridge is still very young, and will need to be guided at time to time, and with Rodgers as his manager, he has someone who will work extensively with him to help him develop and hopefully develop into the striker he wants to be and give him the opportunity to play in his preferred position, but whether on the wide or through the middle, he looks to be excited about playing for Liverpool which is great news for reds fans everywhere.
As mentioned, this move has the possibilities of being the start of something special for both player and the club. Daniel is by no means in the last chance saloon, but this could perhaps be his last chance at the big time and his last chance at playing for one of the big teams in the league.
There is no doubt he would be welcome into a lot of the teams but would he make it into one of the top sides? This is his chance to prove he deserves to be in a big team, and also he can help take Liverpool back to the top. This is an exciting move of promise and hope that suits both parties and has the potential to elevate both player and club back to the top. The hard work starts now, the excitement starts now and the possibilities start now.