Liverpool are set for arguably their most difficult fixture of the season later today, when they face title holders Manchester City at Anfield. The Reds managed to beat City on three separate occasions last season, but with the added pressure of being title favourites, they may struggle to live up to expectations.
Liverpool have managed to match Man City for results over the last two months. As it stands, both clubs have won six and drawn one of the seven Premier League fixtures, with City sat atop the table on goal difference. Much has been said about the methods that Jurgen Klopp has adopted to help close this gap, including bringing in a reliable goalkeeper (Alisson) and reinforcing his midfield (Naby Keita, Fabinho). Perhaps the most important thing that Klopp has managed to do this season however, is reinvigorate his squad players – most notably Daniel Sturridge.
Having failed to make an impact for Liverpool since Klopp’s arrival in 2015, Sturridge was shipped off the West Brom midway through the 2017/18 season. The 29-year-old made just six appearances for the Baggies, failing to score a single goal. It was not the response that West Brom fans had hoped for, and ultimately the club were relegated from the Premier League.
There were huge question marks hanging over Daniel Sturridge following his disappointing spell at the Hawthorns, and when he returned to Anfield this summer, it seemed likely that Liverpool would sell him. Indeed, few expected Sturridge to ever feature in a Premier League game for the Reds again, but with regular striker Mohamed Salah experiencing a rare dry spell, Sturridge has managed to push his way back into the team.
Since the start of the season, Sturridge has played in seven matches in all competitions, scoring four goals in the process. The once out of favour striker is now firmly part of Jurgen Klopp’s plans, and may even himself back in the fold for England in the not so distant future.
“A conversation may have been had between England and Liverpool where they agreed that Sturridge, who has not played a lot of football and is still on his way back to full fitness, is not someone they necessarily need to look at.” said pundit Mark Schwarzer. “If it was a big qualifying match then Sturridge would have been picked down to sheer quality, we saw that against Chelsea when he scored a wonder goal from nothing.
“Sturridge has shown over the years that he is England’s most-talented striker.”