SO the Reds are on holiday and literally nothing has happened of any note aside from a couple of the players having to jump in a cold pool because they got beat by the ressies and Jürgen Klopp making the players share rooms with each other. That’s it.
Imagine having to write 1,200 words or do a load of podcasts when that is the news. I mean, we haven’t even had anyone giving a shit left-back a good hiding with an eight iron for frigs sake and these lads have been in the same complex as Albie Moreno for four days. Either there is an embargo on and Albie has currently got both legs in a cast or the other lads are the most patient squad since The God 11 played out a 0-0 draw against Burnley away while having 95 per cent possession without having a shot.
So, with no news at all to write about you either have to make some up yourself like, I don’t know, a jarg terrorist attack in Sweden, or find something else to worry about. With that in mind, you might have heard the free podcast on Friday where Sean Rogers, Neil Atkinson and I discussed, among other things, the Reds forward line and whether or not we would be looking to sign anyone in the summer.
If you listened, you would have heard us discuss Dan Sturridge at some length and come to the heartbreaking conclusion that he would be moving on to pastures new in the summer and also that we thought that was the right decision. It seems like we weren’t alone in that viewpoint either. On Friday, The Anfield Wrap posted a dead straightforward ‘keep or sell’ poll on Sturridge. The result at the time of writing was 73 per cent in favour of selling him. I stumbled across this bleary-eyed and relatively hungover on Saturday morning and fumed for a bit until I realised that not only had I been on the radio and publicly stated I would sell him 24 hours earlier I had also voted to sell him the previous night but couldn’t remember doing it. In that circumstance then, it makes no sense that I would have a cob on with the vote, does it?
— The Anfield Wrap (@TheAnfieldWrap) February 17, 2017
I’ve been thinking about this since and I think I was just upset. Upset at the thought of Sturridge seeing this poll and also upset that the actually likelihood of him moving would appear to be a couple of steps closer. You see, I love Sturridge, probably a bit more than you. I love everything about him. His arrogance, his style, his lovely quick feet, his wiggly arms; my god do I love his wiggly arms. I basically can’t dance anymore without the wiggly arms getting a game. How did I dance before 2013? Can anyone shed any light on this? I’ve asked my wife but she doesn’t know because my dancing now with the wiggly’s in tow is so good that all previous dancing memories have been supplanted in her brain, kind of like a reverse Eternal Shadow of the spotless mind.
So if I love him so much, why do I think he should leave in the summer? Surely it follows that I would want him to stay forever? Well, yes and no. I want him to stay and be boss for us again but I just don’t see it happening. There is little to no evidence available that would suggest he is going to even start more than 20 per cent of our remaining games, never mind start banging them in like he used to. At the start of the season, I thought he would work his way back into the side yet he is clearly, at best, second choice to Roberto Firmino and whenever we have needed someone to step in, when one of Firmino, Phil Coutinho, Adam Lallana or Sadio Mane have been unavailable, he has either been injured or has had little impact.
He is clearly one of the most talented players within our squad but we look a weaker team when he plays. Our shape and structure is what has allowed us to excel so far this season and unfortunately for us and him, Sturridge is not a natural fit. He is not a natural hunter, he is not someone who wants to graft and tackle. It’s just not his game. It isn’t that he is lazy, rather it just isn’t in his skill set. He is too good to play second fiddle to a system that he will never be able to get the better of. He is too good to not be the first name on the team sheet and yet he is not good enough in the things that we require to get his name anywhere near it for us.
It is also getting to the point where it looks like it just isn’t meant to be for him at Liverpool anymore. Every which way he turns he is having hard lines. Take the holiday the lads are on at the minute; a second pre-season Klopp called it. The perfect opportunity for Dan to prove he is good enough, fit enough and strong enough to warrant a start against Leicester; to learn what the team requires on the training pitch, to build partnerships with other players, to really give Klopp something to think about. He goes, full of best intentions, catches a virus, doesn’t train once and gets sent home before anyone else can catch it off him. His limited chances for starting any time soon diminished further by not washing his hands or some bellend coughing on him in the airport.
Even when he plays he is having hard lines. Everton away, last minute, Sturridge is millimetres from scoring the winning goal in the last minute of a Goodison derby. He scores one of the best goals ever scored by a Liverpool player in a European final and has to watch Albie dreaming of kite surfing, Facebook and candy floss while Seville tear us apart to the extent that no one will ever really watch his goal again. Sometimes in life you have to take the clues the universe gives you and make a decision that is in the best interests of everyone. The only thing that makes sense to me is for Sturridge to leave in the summer and go and play in a cool foreign city, for a cool foreign side and be centre stage again. The only thing that makes sense to me is the Reds letting him go and buying a replacement who fits our style of play, preferably a fucking nuisance, hard as iron, with two eyes for goal.
I hope I am well off beam here. I hope he proves me wrong. I hope Jürgen has got a masterstroke up his sleeve and is able to get him back to his 2013-14 level.
I hope, I hope, I hope with the highest of hopes.
If not though, we will always have the memories of the first 18 months of his Liverpool career, when he scored 50 goals quicker than Robbie Fowler, Ian Rush and Michael Owen and looked like he could be up there with the very best. We will always have the wiggly arms; oh the wiggly arms. These arms won’t wiggle themselves, lads.
We will always have his second against Everton at home when he lobbed Tim Howard and stood in front of their fans, with his arms out, straight faced, while everyone else around him goes berserk.
“Sometimes you have to tell them what time it is.”
What a man.