The importance of Daniel Sturridge to Liverpool

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It would have been a sigh of relief for Brendan Rodgers to have witnessed Daniel Sturridge score twice against Aston Villa on Saturday.

The Northern Irishman has been under a significant amount of pressure over the best part of eight months as Liverpool manager .

After an underwhelming seventh place finish in the Premier League last season, the Reds began this campaign well below par once again.


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A hefty transfer budget was handed to Rodgers by club owners Fenway Sports Group for a second successive summer and there's no doubt he's being watched like a hawk to produce results.

No less than £63 million was spent to bolster his attacking line after Liverpool registered just 52 league goals last term.

Big-money signings

The arrival of Christian Benteke from Aston Villa for £32.5 million was Rodgers' most expensive signing in his three years in charge of the club.

Benteke was the ex-Swansea City manager's replacement for Luis Suarez - one year too late - and the Belgium international has been given a monumental amount of importance at Anfield.

Rodgers also brought in Roberto Firmino from Bundesliga outfit Hoffenheim for £29 million.

Despite many fans knowing little about Firmino's qualities, it was a risk to sign the playmaker.

Benteke, too, is also a brave decision given his style of play.

The 24-year-old has already been on target twice this season but his qualities are at their best when the ball is played towards him from out wide - something Liverpool don't produce all that often.

Sturridge returns

For the best part of one year, Rodgers - along with the majority of fans - have been sitting patiently for the return of Daniel Sturridge.

The England international has had a highly successive career at Anfield since signing for £12 million from Chelsea in January 2013.

Sturridge formed a magnificent rapport with Luis Suarez and netted 21 league goals when Liverpool went within a whisker of winning the title in the 2013/14 season.

When Suarez left for Barcelona last summer, one reason why Rodgers did not panic too much was because he still had Sturridge and intended to base his team around the Birmingham-born striker.

Injuries affected Sturridge for the majority of last term and Liverpool felt the repercussions.

His year was riddled with a number of hip, calf and thigh problems that forced him to miss a significant amount of games as well as never being quite right when he did return to the team.

Last campaign, Rodgers failed to maintain a consistent attacking line.

Mario Balotelli crashed and burned following his £16 million move from AC Milan and Raheem Sterling never looked comfortable as a striker, and off-field complications also took an impact on his performances in the back end of the season.

If Sturridge can keep his fitness, he will be key for Liverpool reaching the holy grail and finishing fourth this season.

Natural-born goalscorer

The striker displayed his importance against Villa.

Short of fitness, short of match sharpness yet he inspired the Reds to a first league win in five matches.

His first goal on the volley after playing a smart one-two with James Milner was based on the goalscoring instinct inside him.

To time the ball like he did cannot be coached - you either have it or you don't and Sturridge certainly possess that quality.

His second too was another smart finish and displayed the movement he is capable of.

Sturridge was fed by a neat flick from Philippe Coutinho and left Brad Guzan stranded to wrap the three points up for his side.

Coutinho and Sturridge know each others game well and they too should continue to be a force to be reckoned with if all goes right.

It's likely that Rodgers also has Benteke in his plans to come in and play alongside Sturridge once he recovers from his thigh strain.

Despite netting twice, Benteke has yet to hit the ground running on Merseyside.

However, he's missed a sufficient strike-partner and has been isolated up front on his own and been crying out for a strike partner.

Do you think Sturridge can help fire Liverpool to a top-four finish? Give YOUR opinion in the comment box below!

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Premier League
Daniel Sturridge
Christian Benteke

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