After a nightmare loan to West Bromwich Albion in the second half of last season, Daniel Sturridge seems like a new man. Well, old-new man, the striker we knew before his injury woes. He’s fit, he’s sharp, he’s scoring goals and creating a lot. He’s been really excellent this pre-season, and most importantly – he’s happy.
It’s refreshing to see a player standing up to challenges and working hard to find ways to make things work, and Sturridge is doing exactly that. He wants to stay at the club and fight for the opportunity to make a contribution – a highly commendable stance.
Further more, he’s ready to change a lot in his game in order to give manager Jurgen Klopp more options. Used to being the man furthest upfront and playing on the shoulder of the last defender, Sturridge has been dropping deeper and making himself highly useful in the buildup. Now, he’s looking to make the next step by giving Klopp the option of using him in a deeper role.
“I’m probably just doing more. It’s important for me to try to get involved,” he told the club’s official website.
“Playing on the shoulder is what I like to do but it’s also important to come and get involved and get in and around the opposition’s No.6. It’s adding more strings to my bow and giving the manager more options if he needs to play me deeper.
“But wherever I play, it doesn’t matter – it’s just important to get the minutes.”
“It has just happened. I think I’ve always been capable of doing that but I’ve always been on the shoulder, so I haven’t done it as often as I am now.
“But it doesn’t matter where I play or which role I’m in, as long as I’m out there and pushing myself to my limits. The minutes are important in pre-season, putting your best foot forward and working as hard as you can.”
“My ambition is to train hard and work hard in pre-season,” Sturridge concludes.
“There are a lot of running sessions and a lot more pre-season games to go. And there’s no pressure. There are a lot of games during the season so it’s about giving your all when you get your minutes.
“I’m not putting any pressure on myself or the management or my teammates. It’s about enjoying myself. I’m part of an unbelievable group, we have a chance to be successful this season. Everybody is pulling together and being part of that unity – being together as one and trying to make this team successful – is what it’s all about.
“We want to win trophies and we want to be successful. It starts now and it’s a long season.
“It doesn’t matter whether you play the first game or the 50th game – as long as you’re involved in the journey that’s all that matters.”
Given his injury record, there will naturally be questions asked about how long he can stay fit, but let’s hope we see a lot more of that famous dance of his this term.