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Daniel Sturridge was a shining light during Liverpool’s darkest times

The striker will say goodbye to the club after six years that culminated in Champions League success

Footballers, in general, simply aren’t that cool.

In many ways they have more money than sense. The vast majority are Kasabian-loving, live-laugh-love preaching fashion victims who can’t resist a sale at TK Maxx.

Daniel Sturridge, however, bucks that trend – all while playing the beautiful game with an infectious smile on his face too.

What a way to go out

AFP or licensors
What a way to go out

After all, how many footballers can say they’ve successfully launched their own brand of cooking sauces?

Small moronic sections of Liverpool’s fanbase turned on him while his injury hell took its toll.

But to the vast majority he is untouchable, enshrined in Anfield folklore mainly for being a bloody great bloke who has been through so much.

One final dance

PA:Press Association
One final dance

I remember exploding with pure joy for him when he scored within minutes of his return from a lengthy spell on the sidelines in 2015.

I also know a story of how a Liverpool fan and his family bumped into Sturridge but couldn’t take a photo with him as his phone had died. The England man, being the true gent that he is, insisted they took the photos on his own phone before emailing them across.

A ‘wimp’ and a ‘lost cause’ in the eyes of some, Sturridge has had 15 separate injuries at Liverpool, missing 567 days of action and sitting out 99 games in the process.

A cruelly familiar sight

Getty - Contributor
A cruelly familiar sight

In 2015 he underwent the same kind of drastic hip surgery that has more or less ended Andy Murray’s tennis career.

Yet despite all those setbacks, he’s carried on dancing.

On Saturday he won the Champions League for the second time in his career, Liverpool’s rollercoaster run to the final in Madrid kickstarted by his goal against PSG in their opening group game.

Three days later it was announced, as expected, that he would leave the club on a high at the end of his contract.

Of course Mane tried to copy him

Times Newspapers Ltd
Of course Mane tried to copy him

Liverpool may have eventually outgrown him but he was a shining light in the darker times at Anfield.

Joining for just £12m in January 2013, he swiftly became the most prolific English striker in the following 18 months as he and Luis Suarez very nearly combined to deliver an improbable first Premier League title.

That season Sturridge was arguably the best number nine in Europe, feeding off the Suarez momentum yet carrying the Reds while the Uruguayan served his suspensions.


Getty Images - Getty

Since that campaign injury has cruelly reduced his impact to blistering cameos, but his attitude has never faded.

For anyone else a disheartening loan spell at West Brom may have signalled the end, but Sturridge bounced back with some massive contributions for Liverpool in the final few months of 2018.

Perhaps more important has been his influence and guidance with the younger players, namely Joe Gomez and Rhian Brewster.

Keep dancing, Daniel

Keep dancing, Daniel

Sturridge is a hugely popular figure in the dressing room which can be a priceless additional asset when it comes to preserving squad harmony.

His raw talent deserved more and there’s no denying his Liverpool career, despite ending in European glory, leaves a taste of ‘what if?’ in the mouth.

Yet he still produced moments that genuinely dropped jaws to the floor.

His Messi-esque chip against West Brom, his quick-fire double in the Merseyside derby, his outrageous goal against Sevilla in the Europa League final and his timely equaliser at Stamford Bridge earlier this season.

Sturridge was one of the longest serving members of Jurgen Klopp’s squad and helped lay the foundations for what they are today.

For that, and I believe I can speak on behalf of all Liverpool fans, the club is forever indebted to him. So thank you, Daniel, and keep on dancing.

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