Liverpool and England striker Daniel Sturridge has declared that he is fully-fit for the Reds trip to Manchester City on Saturday.
The England star has endured a nightmare 18 months with injuries and has been unavailable to new boss Jurgen Klopp.
The striker has now returned to training after recovering from the knee injury that he picked-up prior to Klopp’s first game in charge of the Reds at Tottenham.
‘Fit and ready to go’
Talking about his fitness the striker told Sky Sports: “I’m fit and ready to go and it’s going to be a great time for me,”
“It’s been great under the new manager. I’ve been back training for the past couple of days and I was training when he first arrived.
“It’s an exciting time to be at the club and I’m enjoying working with him and the style of football. It’s important for us to understand what he wants us to do.”
Sturridge’s declaration of fitness will be a boost to Reds boss Klopp, who previously only had Belgian duo Christian Benteke and Divock Origi available as striking options.
Origi has struggled to find form since his switch to Merseyside, while Benteke, although a proven goalscorer has been plagued by niggling injuries following his big money move from Aston Villa in the summer.
Just so injury-prone
Sturridge started just seven Premier League games last season and made just a further five substitute appearances in the league, scoring four goals.
This season has seen Sturridge make just three top-flight appearances that has produced two goals. For me the question is how long is Sturridge going to stay injury-free for this time around?
Every time he gets fit and starts playing Liverpool fans must just be waiting for the striker to experience another injury setback. The striker has now gained a reputation for being prone to injuries.
Sturridge now seems like the sort of guy who could injure himself getting out of bed. I should not have written that I have probably jinxed the striker now.
It is such a shame that the striker is so injury-prone. He now needs to stay away from black cats, walking under ladders and cracks in the pavement, because it seems he already has bad enough luck.
A big dilemma for Klopp
It must be so annoying and frustrating for Liverpool fans and boss Klopp to have a player in their squad that has proven he can be prolific in the Premier League, yet is on the treatment table so much.
In Liverpool’s flirtation with the Premier League title in season 2013/14, Sturridge formed one of the most dangerous strike-partnerships in the league with now departed Luis Suarez. Sturridge scored 21 times that season and also produced seven assists.
Those claiming that Suarez was the main factor in the striker’s stats that season may have forgotten that Suarez was suspended at the start of that campaign. It was Sturridge who spearheaded the Reds good start to the campaign.
That campaign was Sturridge’s most prolific of his career and the way injuries have hampered his career it may be for a long time. There is no doubt that given the chances and the game time Sturridge will score goals in the Premier League.
A fully-fit Daniel Sturridge is a major asset to the Reds, but boss Klopp has a dilemma in the fact that he cannot build a team around a player who has spent more time in the Liverpool treatment room than the Reds physios in the last year-and-a-half.
It will be interesting to see what Klopp does with Sturridge. The former-Dortmund boss favours playing with a lone striker, so that would mean him choosing between big money signing Benteke and Sturridge for that one striking spot.
The alternative would be for Sturridge to play on the wing. The 26-year-old has played there in the past, but that prolific campaign in the top-flight proved that he is far better deployed as a central striker. It would be good for Liverpool and England if the Daniel Sturridge of season 2013/14 was to return.
The talk of Klopp choosing between two very good Premier League strikers is not likely to last long though, as judging by his recent injury record it will not be long before Sturridge is sidelined with another injury and the Reds are back to relying on Benteke and Origi once again.
Will Daniel Sturridge ever be injury-free?