There are signs that Daniel Sturridge’s future lies away from Liverpool. Following a season of physical fragility and a questionable attitude/work ethic the writing appears to be on the wall for Sturbridge under the Klopp regime.
There can be no doubts about the quality that Sturridge possesses but his future at Anfield doesn’t necessarily depend on that. It is more dependent on whether or not he can physically cope with a season of league and cup competitions that come thick and fast but also, and perhaps more importantly, display an ability to contribute to all parts of the highly intensive tactical approach that Jurgen Klopp demands.
The phrase ‘dirty work’ is commonly used by football commentators or observers and they offer a misrepresentation of what they actually mean in the context they are used – especially when commenting on Klopp’s approach to football.
Competing and achieving results at the elite level is a right that has to be earned, there isn’t an opposition team, player or manager that is going to allow the other team to have a free pass. The so-called ‘dirty work’ within Klopp’s framework is nothing special but there are nuances to it. There is a huge misapprehension that all is required of the Liverpool players, including Daniel Sturridge, is to run around like headless chickens until the ball is back in their possession. Wrong. Players are required to win the ball back high up the pitch, in areas that have a high percentage chance of leading to shots on goal without compromising the team by leaving them open defensively.
Christian Benteke has already found out that if you are not willing to work for the team you will soon become surplus to requirements. As good as a player might be, Klopp is not interested in egos, he is a romantic and shows a passion for the game sadly missing from the majority of football managers and wants players to be as committed as possible, but why wouldn’t they be? What’s the problem?
The elephant in the room, as far as Klopp is concerned, is the fact that this is not his squad, in fairness it was barely Brendan Rodgers’ judging reports of the much-maligned transfer committee at Anfield. The lack of control over playing staff creates a number of problems and Daniel Sturridge is arguably showing all of those. The manager is there to get the best out the players and he’s not going to do that by throwing them under the bus and will always say the right things to the press about his players. However, Sturridge’s absence from the starting line-up has been conspicuous. It appears that the manager knows he has a good player but not one he wants for the future.
Sturridge exudes arrogance at times, an almost ‘too cool for school’ approach and he will always defend that as simply being naturally confident. The well-trodden cliche of ‘confidence is very close to arrogance’ is a misnomer, often used by someone that is just arrogant. You are either confident or arrogant.
Nicklas Bendtner was very similar and remains so, he is a player that at one point in his career said he would be the best footballer in the world, fittingly, he’s recently had his contract at Wolfsburg terminated. There is a reason that at the age of twenty-six, Sturridge is already at his fourth club and perhaps he needs to learn that unless you have a surname like Messi or Ronaldo you are expected to earn the right to play.
Sturridge is an infinitely better player than Bendtner. Of course, he is but it doesn’t mean to say that he won’t suffer the same ignominious demise. Of course, there will always be a club for Sturridge because of his quality and other teams and managers are willing to make compromises for such quality. The level of fulfilment of his career is yet to be seen and will only be seen at the end of his playing career but for a man fast approaching what many footballers would describe as their prime, he isn’t showing signs of a man desperate to fill his cabinet with silverware. Only Sturridge himself will know what his approach is but from the outside looking in the approach isn’t the right at this time and any decision to change the path he is currently on many now be out of his hands.
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