IT'S TIME FOR LIVERPOOL TO SELL DANIEL STURRIDGE


Getting unceremoniously beaten at Anfield kicked Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool out of the EFL Cup on Wednesday, the 2-0 aggregate win sending Southampton to Wembley where the Saints will most likely face Manchester United. On Twitter, “Kloppout” began trending on Merseyside following Southampton’s victory. Fans overacting to a defeat on social media is far from rare or worth worrying about, of course.
While Klopp’s team selection surely led to the defeat, losing to Southampton is not worthy of a sacking, nor does it necessarily speak volumes of the German’s inability to manage. What it did show, however, is that Daniel Sturridge‘s time at Anfield is up. Liverpool must sell Sturridge – and fast.
In Wednesday’s semifinal second leg, Klopp gave the oft-injured striker a chance to lead the line and pushed Roberto Firmino a bit further back. While the chemistry did suffer in the final third, Sturridge had a couple of early chances that he promptly squandered. The lack of sharpness could easily be attributed to a lack of regular playing time, but missing those chances doesn’t bode well for Sturridge getting more opportunities in the future.
The manager was not wrong to start Sturridge in a League Cup match, but the reality is that the England forward is now all out of chances at Anfield. He doesn’t fit with the team’s style and is a square peg in a round hole if there ever was one. He’s a long-distance runner in a 100-meter relay, and Liverpool looks slow whenever he takes the track.
Against the Saints, Sturridge’s place in the starting XI also forced Adam Lallana further back into the midfield, causing arguably Liverpool’s best player over the past couple of months to never get completely involved in the attack. If Sturridge doesn’t get the nod, Lallana retains his place on an attacking wing, with Firmino leading the line and Philippe Coutinho playing on the opposite side. In truth, Lallana could drop back into the midfield again when Sadio Mane returns from the Africa Cup of Nations, so Klopp messing with his formations and placement is not necessarily poor management.
When Mane does return, the current incarnation of Sturridge has absolutely no business even sitting on the bench. Klopp is going to have to find a way to get Firmino, Lallana, Mane and Coutinho all on the pitch, and more than likely, one of those four will have to settle for being a substitute. Frankly, even 21-year-old Divock Origi and 24-year-old Danny Ings are better options than Sturridge off the bench at this point.
If Wednesday served any purpose for the Reds, the book on Sturridge’s future at Merseyside should be closed.
At 27, Sturridge is not done and dusted by any means. He simply doesn’t fit in at Liverpool. Back when Luis Suarez was on the team, the Uruguayan needed a player like Sturridge to help create chances and work in tandem in the final third. Also, Sturridge, when healthy, was more mobile back then. The current Reds side bears almost no resemblance to the one led by Suarez and Steven Gerrard, and Sturridge is no longer knocking in goals when healthy and provided the odd chance to do so.
Two goals in 13 Premier League appearances does not warrant further selection, and with the EFL Cup over, Sturridge’s bench appearances will come few and far between. He can still help a team in the middle of the Premier League table or near the bottom, but at Liverpool, he’s clearly surplus to requirements. Even more, the team suffers when Sturridge is on the pitch, and at times, it feels like Liverpool is playing 10 versus 11 because of the forward’s inability to press the ball high up the pitch, which is the Reds’ calling card.
He’s a detriment to Klopp’s vision of Liverpool, but blaming the manager for giving the player another chance is a bit harsh when zooming out beyond the second leg of the EFL Cup semifinal. After all, it is the least important of the competitions Liverpool is involved in, even if it was a semifinal.
“#Kloppout” may have been trending in Liverpool, but Wednesday’s lesson for Klopp and the Reds should be that Sturridge can no longer play a part at Liverpool, i.e. #Sturridgeout.

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IT'S TIME FOR LIVERPOOL TO SELL DANIEL STURRIDGE IT'S TIME FOR LIVERPOOL TO SELL DANIEL STURRIDGE Reviewed by 9jasquare on 10:30:00 PM Rating: 5

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