Jurgen Klopp has hailed Daniel Sturridge as a ‘modern-day great’ for Liverpool, following the announcement that he will leave the club on a free transfer.
Sturridge joined Liverpool in 2013 and quickly became one of the most feared strikers in English football.
The England international played a key role in Liverpool’s 2013/14 title challenge, scoring 21 goals as the Reds came agonisingly close to pipping Manchester City to the Premier League crown and earning himself a place in the PFA Team of the Year.
• Suárez (31) • Salah (21)
• Sturridge (21) • Mané (20)
Liverpool have two players with 20+ goals in a single Premier League season for just the second time. 🇪🇬🇸🇳 pic.twitter.com/OxrkAJoVbO
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) April 26, 2019
However, injuries have often curtailed his development at Anfield and despite scoring 67 goals in 160 appearances for the Reds, he – along with Alberto Moreno – will depart the club when their contracts expire at the end of the month. The pair managed just 655 minutes of Premier League football combined throughout 2018/19.
“Daniel has earned the right to be considered a modern-day Liverpool great, I would think,” Klopp told Liverpool’s official website.
“He came to the club while we were trying to rebuild and re-establish ourselves. Some of the goals he has scored for Liverpool were so, so, so important.
“He is one of the best finishers I have ever seen in my life. He scores goals you think could and should not be possible.
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“Again, like many players in my squad, Daniel has had to be patient and contribute when asked during games, but even this season he has played a vital role.
“What maybe is missed on the outside of the club by many is what a great leader Daniel is in our dressing room. He is smart, confident and not afraid to speak up when he thinks there is something that needs adapting to help the team. He has been great with many of the younger players also, so he has been so important to our progression here.”
The 2013/14 campaign also saw Sturridge become the first Liverpool player in the Premier League era to score in six successive away games and the first to do so since John Barnes in 1990.
6 – Harry Kane is only the fourth player in PL history to score in six successive away games (Drogba, Van Persie (9), Sturridge). Voyage.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 7, 2015
While Sturridge sits only behind Fernando Torres (34) and Mohamed Salah (39) in scoring 33 goals in his first 50 Premier League games for the newly crowned European champions.
Most goals for Liverpool in first 50 Premier League games for the club:
🔴 Mohamed Salah (39)
🔴 Fernando Torres (34)
🔴 Daniel Sturridge (33)
A record broken along the way. 🇪🇬 pic.twitter.com/XXp00UjIs6
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 3, 2018
The repeated hamstring and hip injuries may have restricted Sturridge’s goalscoring prowess and tainted his legacy but he will leave Liverpool with fond memories of that ‘SAS’ partnership with Luis Suarez and his head held high with one of the most impressive goalscoring records of any player in the club’s recent history.
A long-awaited Champions League win – his first major trophy on Merseyside – feels like a fitting manner to walk away.