Luis Suarez have made the headlines after infamously biting Branislav Ivanovic following Liverpool’s 2-2 draw against Chelsea last weekend, but the whole biting scenario has taken the shine off one man’s impact on the game: Daniel Sturridge.
After deservedly going down 1-0 at half time, Brendan Rodgers’ side were in need of a player who could provide the spark that had been missing in their tepid first half performance and it came in form of former Chelsea striker, Sturridge.
Within minutes of his introduction, Sturridge had already sent warning signs to his former employers. His first touch sent Steven Gerrard through on goal for what should have been the equaliser only for the Reds captain to be denied by the outstretched legs of Petr Cech. His next contribution sent shivers down the spines of Chelsea supporters as he crashed a 30-yard stunner against the post.
Finally, with his third touch, he calmed the nerves of thousands of Liverpool fans in the stands getting onto the most exquisite of crosses from Luis Suarez to score the equaliser. It had taken Danny just seven minutes make his impact felt.
Like many young players before him, Sturridge was never afforded the time to mature at Stamford Bridge. Brought to West London by then Chelsea manager, Carlo Ancelotti in 2009, Sturridge was sent out on loan to Bolton Wanderers in the second half of the 2010/11 season as he was never going to displace the proven strike partnership of veteran duo, Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka.
After having a good spell at the Reebok Stadium with eight goals in 12 appearances, Sturridge came back to Stamford Bridge to meet new coach, Andre villas-Boas who showed in belief in youngsters and he soon earned regular playtime under the Portuguese tactician who deployed him in the wide right position and he repaid the faith in him by scoring goals frequently in AVB’s reign.
But AVB was soon axed by trigger happy owner, Roman Abramovic and Roberto Di Matteo, under intense pressure to deliver opted to go for the experienced Didier Drogba and the misfiring Fernando Torres rather than give the 23-year old a chance to lead the attack.
Sturridge was never really part of the Chelsea team and when the opportunity came for him to move elsewhere in the winter, Anfield proved to be the destination of choice. The Reds had been far too reliant on Luis Suarez for goals in the first half of the season while Chelsea was overcrowded with talented youngsters all craving playing time; good business, it seemed for both parties.
At Liverpool, he has been given the freedom to play as the central striker with Suarez operating behind him. That tactic has paid off and he has proven the doubters at Liverpool wrong with an impressive six goals in his first 12 matches including strikes against the top two Manchester teams.
After having already put on a man of the match performance, it was perhaps befitting enough for Sturridge to remind the entire Chelsea management what precious talent they lost by providing the assist for Suarez’s last minute equaliser. That goal could prove costly in Chelsea’s top four hopes and should the blues fail to make Europe, Sturridge would surely be remembered as one of the players who threw the spanner in the works .
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