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The Daniel Sturridge puzzle

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It's the 25th minute of his first start under Jurgen Klopp.

Daniel Sturridge collects the ball from a beautiful Joe Allen ball. His first touch is poor, but he has the ball at his feet. He twists, moves ahead, shoots and scores.

Less than five minutes later, Sturridge beats the offside trap and catches a lob from Emre Can. He hits it first-time, and the result is the same.

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Just half an hour on the clock is all it took for the English forward to prove to the club why they pay him - for moments like that.

Liverpool conceded in the very first minute against Southampton, they were ahead 28 minutes later when the English striker scored his, and the team's second goal of the night.

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There were four more to come, but the 26-year-old was withdrawn near the hour mark, as he went up and sat in his chair, probably feeling satisfied with himself.

Sturridge is an enigma. A player who has made 310 appearances in his professional career, averaging almost 30 appearances a season would not normally be called injury prone. However, he has had only one fully fit season at the very top level, with a very good team.

A season where he and Luis Suarez broke the record of most goals as a duo in a 38 game league season, a season where he assisted eight, and scored 25.

A season that made him the highest paid player of Liverpool, after Suarez and Steven Gerrard left.

He averages 30 appearances a season. Yet, he has missed more than half the games that Liverpool have played since he was brought to Anfield by Brendan Rodgers in 2013.

Yet, his goalscoring ratio is that of a top quality striker- he averages 0.62 goals per game in the Premier League for Liverpool and 0.60 in all competitions.

He needs six goals in 12 games to become the fastest Liverpool player to score 50 goals and break Anfield hero Fernando Torres' record in the process.

Players more often than not, need time to adjust to football after a massive injury; Sturridge - despite being the only player who can challenge Abou Diaby in an injury contest - does not.

The former Chelsea forward returned to first team football after six months, this season under Rodgers - scoring a brace against Aston Villa on his first start before getting injured again.

He came back and scored a brace against Southampton on his first start, that is Sturridge.

He takes to life after an injury like a fish to water. When fit, there is no doubt he is the second best striker in England, behind Sergio Aguero. His only problem is his fitness.

The fans love him and sadly, so do injuries. Jurgen Klopp said in a recent interview, that Sturridge needs to differentiate between pain and minor pain. Which begs the question, is it all in his mind?

Daniel Sturridge is an enigma. But he is an enigma the Kop needs. He is an enigma the fans love to see and lash out when they don't.

A goalscoring enigma, Sturridge is the one player that can lead Liverpool to glory.

'Stay fit Sturridge, stay fit.' That is all Liverpool fans pray for, and hopefully, their prayers are heard this time.

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Topics:
Liverpool
Steven Gerrard
Premier League
Football
Daniel Sturridge

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