Jamie Carragher reckons Daniel Sturridge will end his Liverpool misery this summer – but feels he’ll have to join a “lesser club” if he wants regular playing time.
The striker has become a bit-part player at Anfield this season under Jurgen Klopp, with the Reds manager admitting the striker could become surplus to requirements this season.
With injuries restricting the player’s availability to Klopp, Sturridge could return to the squad for Wednesday’s home clash with Bournemouth.
However, Carragher doesn’t believe it will be enough to salvage his Liverpool career and feels it may be best for both parties if the 27-year-old England striker were to move on this summer.
“I don’t think Daniel Sturridge has ever been a Jurgen Klopp-type of player,” Carragher told Newsweek, speaking at a promotional event for Sky Sports’ upcoming football coverage.
“When everyone has been fit he’s never really played. He’s got injury problems which is an issue but I’ll probably be surprised if he’s there next season. It might be better for everyone if he moves on and tries to rejuvenate his career because he had a brilliant start to his Liverpool career; him and [Luis] Suarez were devastating. But it just seems to have tailed off now.”
In 2014, under then-Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, Sturridge scored 24 goals in 33 games for the club alongside Suarez, seeing the club come close to winning the league title for the first time in 24 years. But injuries have blighted Sturridge’s time at Anfield; this season alone he has missed a large chunk of games with hip and calf problems.
Carragher, 39, suggests this may be down to the intensity of English football. “Injuries are obviously a problem,” he says. “All players are different and some can’t handle the rigors of Premier League football and the training and the intensity of it — and that certainly looks the case at the moment with Daniel.
“Some people need to be 100% fit to play, physically and mentally, and that’s something for Daniel because when he does play, he’s devastating. He’s so sharp. And the one worry is that he loses that pace or sharpness because of the injuries, and when you see him play now you just fear for him in that way.”
Carragher doesn’t question his former team-mate’s ability but believes his history of injury problems may mean Sturridge has to look for a club lower down the Premier League table.
West Ham have been linked with Sturridge, but Carra reckons Sturridge could even do a job elsewhere in London.
“If you’re going to play week in week out, it may have to be a level down,” Carragher added to Newsweek. “But he certainly has the quality to play for [a club like] Tottenham, there’s no doubt about that. It’s whether he’s got the injury record and then you’ve got [Dele] Alli and [Harry] Kane, which isn’t a bad front two.”
Wherever Sturridge ends up playing his football next season, Carragher believes the summer will be a vital period for him. “You just hope he can get a really good pre season behind him and really go in firing, because I think when Daniel Sturridge was at his best two or three years ago I think he was the best English striker out there.
“Now, he’s fallen down the pecking order because he hasn’t been playing, but if he could get back to those levels, he’s right in there in the England team and England squad.”