Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has insisted that striker Daniel Sturridge can be a world class player when he manages to find his fitness, reports talkSPORT.
The England international has endured a torrid year, failing to stay fit throughout the course of the campaign, which has ultimately seen him score just five goals this term. That's in stark contrast to last season when he struck as many as 21 Premier League goals to help Liverpool secure a place in the Champions League.
There's no doubt about it, the forward will be determined for a far more successful campaign in 2015/16, but may well have to take things slowly after undergoing hip surgery. Rodgers, though, has been full of praise for his struggling striker, claiming that he has all the attributes to prove his credentials for the club.
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“We hope we’ve got to the bottom of it,” he told the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast show. “This is an injury that has been looked at and the medics have said it’s maybe been the cause of a lot of his problems. It’s hard to say, we’re hoping so.
“It was important these guys find what might be the problem. Once he’s back on fire there are not many players who are better than Daniel Sturridge.
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“He’s super fast, has great touch and balance and he’s strong. He’s got everything to be a world class player.
“As you know, though, the world class players play every single week, contributing, that’s the make-up. It’s not just talent or ability, it’s consistency.”
Rodgers is right
You can hardly argue with Rodgers on this one: Sturridge is a wonderful striker, who has the potential to go to the very top, but injury problems may well slow down his progression in the game.
Without a doubt, this latest surgery will prove huge for the forward, as he goes about securing his fitness for the long term. If Sturridge manages to play week in, week out, then he will score plenty of goals, but he has it all to do to reach his maximum potential.
But Liverpool can't rely on him
And, ultimately, Liverpool can't rely on him to stay fit and be the club's main man. At the end of the day, problems on the injury scene have held him back for too long now, so it's crucial the club's hierarchy make serious movements in the upcoming transfer window.
If Sturridge manages to stay fit and get back to his best then that will be a huge bonus for the club as they go in search of success in 2015/16, but they must add another proven striker to their ranks sooner rather than later.
It is, of course, extremely unlikely that the club will be playing in next year's Champions League competition, so it won't be easy for them to find a world-class striker, but they must invest and work hard to find the right man to lead their line next term.
Liverpool fans: Which striker should your club target this summer? Have your say in the comments section below!