Daniel Sturridge was a force to be reckoned with during the 2013/14 season.
Sturridge’s iconic 2013/14 campaign
And although his Barcelona-bound strike partner might have hoovered up much of the praise that year, Sturridge’s sensational record of 24 goals in 33 games still lives long in the memory.
For better or for worse, it’s a purple patch that has always followed Sturridge around and one that saw him tipped to become Liverpool’s main man when Suarez departed in the summer of 2014.
England vs Germany match reaction (Football Terrace)
Sturridge on trying to become Liverpool’s main man
In conversation with the High Performance Podcast, Sturridge reflected on how injuries stunted his subsequent attempts to become Liverpool’s poacher in chief on the back of that iconic 24-goal haul.
The 31-year-old reminisced: “I had a season where I’ve bagged 24 goals and feeling the highest of the highs, and Suarez had just left Liverpool and I was pretty much at that point in time considered, you know, potentially the main man.
“There were a couple of other players. But, you know, as far as centre forwards go, I was the main man at the time.
“And then I started the season well, bagged first game, thinking: ‘Yeah, you know, Southampton. We beat them, scored with 20 minutes to go. Feeling myself. Buzzing.’ And then I started to pick up a couple of injuries.
“When I picked up those injuries, that was the lowest moment for me. That was the hardest mental task for me, because I felt like that was the moment that: ‘Alright, cool, this is my real coming out party. I’ve scored 24 goals last season.’
“I was runner-up to [Eden] Hazard in young player. I don’t know how I didn’t win that, to be fair. But that’s another story. But, you know, so I think for me that was difficult to deal with. But I also knew that in those moments I started to adopt a different mentality.”
A season for the ages
It really is an emotive ‘what could have been?’ scenario for Sturridge, but make no mistake that his crushing injuries do little to take the shine off a 2013/14 campaign that fans so fondly remember.
In fact, by way of toasting the high-performance levels that Sturridge was able to reaching during his Liverpool zenith, we’ve decided to frame his masterpiece alongside other Anfield greats.
To do so, we’ve dipped into the Premier League history books to find every single instance of a Liverpool player scoring 15 or more league goals since England’s top-flight was rebranded in 1992.
Naturally, Sturridge fits that criteria hand in glove alongside some of the greatest players and goalscorers that Anfield has ever bore witness to.
Liverpool’s greatest goalscoring seasons
We’re only taking each striker’s most prolific season to avoid diluting the rankings, so Reds legends who passed the 15-goal barrier on multiple occasions will be represented by their high-water mark.
The result? Nine players who all hold the distinction of having produced goalscoring seasons for the ages at Liverpool and you can see how Sturridge fares by checking out the full list down below:
9. Roberto Firmino (2017/18) – 15 goals
The old adage goes that Firmino is much more than a goalscorer and that’s perhaps reflected in his position in ninth, but make no mistake that the Brazilian is one of Liverpool’s greatest number nines.
8. Steven Gerrard (2008/09) – 16 goals
It’s astonishing to think that a midfielder wrestles his way into Liverpool’s goalscoring Hall of Fame, but this is an all-time legend we’re talking about here and ‘Stevie G’ was unstoppable in 2008/09.
7. Michael Owen (2001/02 & 2002/03) – 19 goals
Are we alone in being slightly surprised that Liverpool’s Ballon d’Or-winning prodigy never actually scored 20 goals in a Premier League season? He narrowly missed out on the feat twice, mind.
6. Daniel Sturridge (2013/14) – 21 goals
Ah yes, the reason we’re here. Not only was Sturridge simply lethal in front of goal in 2013/14, but the England forward scored some of the finest strikes the Premier League witnessed that season.
5. Sadio Mane (2018/19) – 22 goals
The finest season from a decorated collection saw Mane share the Premier League Golden Boot with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as Liverpool romped their way to an astonishing 97 points.
4. Fernando Torres (2007/08) – 24 goals
To say that ‘El Nino’ hit the ground running at Liverpool would be the mother of all understatements and only one Reds signing can claim to have made a bigger impact in their maiden season.
3. Robbie Fowler (1995/96) – 28 goals
It’s easy to forget just how lethal ‘God’ was during his breakout seasons at Liverpool and his breath-taking tally of 28 goals is all the more remarkable for taking place in the first 20-team campaign.
2. Luis Suarez (2013/14) – 31 goals
A campaign that will go down in history. Suarez was a force of nature alongside Sturridge in his final Liverpool season, equalling the Premier League scoring record that our gold medalist later broke…
1. Mohamed Salah (2017/18) – 32 goals
The record-breaking season itself. It’s astonishing to think how much criticism Salah has amassed at Anfield when he’s either won or challenged for the Premier League Golden Boot every year.
Sturridge rubbing shoulders with greats
So, there you have it, Sturridge more than holds his own amongst some of the greatest strikers to have pulled on the famous red jersey since the Premier League came to pass.
The former England hero might not have emerged from Suarez’s shadow in the way he imagined to in the 2014/15 campaign, but the brilliance of the previous season continues to endure and inspire.
To use that most brilliant of footballing clichés from social media: the streets will never forget when Sturridge turned the Premier League into his playground.