Sympathy for Daniel Sturridge is in short supply after his latest injury setback, but Liverpool should not give up on the striker, writes Mark Holmes.
Sturridge has been plagued by injury problems ever since joining Liverpool in 2013, missing the start of this season following a hip injury and then the first nine games of Jurgen Klopp’s reign with knee and foot problems.
He scored twice in last week’s 6-1 win in the Capital One Cup during a brief sojourn back in the team but has now been ruled out for a couple of weeks with a hamstring strain suffered in his 28-minute run out at Newcastle United on Sunday.
Somewhat understandably, Liverpool supporters are beginning to lose patience with a player that managed only 12 appearances in the Premier League last season when needed to step up and perform in the absence of Luis Suarez.
Time for Sturridge to leave liverpool the injuries R all in his head. In football U have to play with pain for God sake
— david white (@White81David) December 9, 2015
I think at this point Liverpool should just sell Sturridge and move on. But what could the club realistically expect to get for him? #LFC
— Gridiron Gaffer (@gridirongaffer) December 9, 2015
I think it's time @LFC give up on Sturridge, sell him on at a loss, buy a recognized top quality striker and go from there
— + (@DPortss) December 9, 2015
I'm so done with Sturridge, we need to give him up and get a proper replacement.
— Hilde (@hilduspildus) December 9, 2015
However, Sturridge ought to be afforded a little more sympathy over his latest setback. Muscle injuries are incredibly common for players just coming back from long-term lay-offs, but Sturridge hasn’t been too badly affected by hamstring problems over the years; this strain is not part of a wider problem but merely a not-unexpected reaction to a return to competitive football.
Overnight suggestions that he would miss a month were always going to be quickly proven wide of the mark – never has a hamstring strain out for so long – and the couple of weeks the 26-year-old does miss can be put to good use further strengthening his body for what will hopefully be an injury-free second half of the season.
There have been suggestions, of course, from Klopp no less, that Sturridge needs to differentiate between actual injuries and slight knocks which he could play through, but the England international is far from the only player out there wary of playing when not fully fit; not everybody has the attitude of Jamie Vardy.
The most pertinent point to be made, however, is that Sturridge is a fine striker and quite possibly the difference between challenging for the title or scrapping for a top-four place. Not that there have been any suggestions that it could happen, but Klopp would be crazy to consider selling the former Chelsea man in January – even if he had a replacement lined up.
There may come a time when Sturridge’s injuries make it impossible for Liverpool to warrant him continuing to take up wages and a place in the squad, but that should be a long, long way off being a consideration. After all, if there is one thing worse for Liverpool fans than seeing Sturridge in the stands, it’s seeing him on the pitch scoring for a rival club. He would not be short of Premier League suitors – top ones at that – should Liverpool ever decide to cut their losses.
Good things come to those who wait…