Brendan Rodgers Must Apply Own Daniel Sturridge Advice To LFC’s Other Strikers


Sep 30, 2015

Brendan Rodgers should heed his own advice on Daniel Sturridge’s fitness and apply it to his other strikers. Doing so might cause Liverpool more immediate pain, but Rodgers’ Reds will reap rewards in the long run.

At his press conference Wednesday ahead of Liverpool’s UEFA Europa League game against FC Sion, Rodgers said he’ll speak with England’s Football Association about managing Sturridge’s return to peak fitness and sharpness, following 12 months of injury problems.

“Daniel has worked very, very hard and has come back ahead of schedule. We’ve just got to make sure we don’t break him at this stage,” Rodgers said, according to the Liverpool Echo.

Sturridge scored two goals Saturday in Liverpool’s Premier League win over Aston Villa. Rodgers rightly has been praising the previously missing marksman ever since.

Rodgers is eager to field his strongest teams, which give him the best chance of winning games and restoring the confidence of players and fans. It’s not too much to ask, but Rodgers should be as careful with Sturridge and his other strikers as he wants others to be.

Liverpool ended last season without a striker capable of unsettling Premier League defenses. It now has two in the form of Sturridge and Christian Benteke, and Danny Ings is threatening to become the third. Liverpool’s striker cupboard has gone from bare to well-stocked in a few short weeks, but Rodgers’ forward options easily could dwindle in as much time.

Sturridge’s fitness issues are no secret. Liverpool needs him to stay healthy, but the chances of him progressing through the season without any sort of setback are slim. Such is life for any elite-level player, let alone one who historically has had trouble dodging injury.

Benteke’s hamstring injury is the wild card. The Belgian left Liverpool’s draw with Norwich City at halftime and missed the next two games. Liverpool has not publicized the results of Bentke’s MRI, but he too will require careful handling when he returns to action.

Hamstring injuries can become recurrent issues over the course of the season. The chances of Benteke becoming an effective reinforcement or contingency for Sturridge will plummet if his hamstring problem repeatedly flares up this season.

Liverpool plays two more games before the international break. If England manager Roy Hodgson selects Sturridge, Rodgers and Liverpool fans around the world will pray he returns unscathed from international duty.

After the break, Liverpool will embark on a crucial, eight-week stretch, in which it plays 11 games.

Rodgers must resist the urge to overplay Sturridge and Benteke during that time, especially in the event Liverpool enters another must-win situation. Sturridge and Benteke are the pick of Liverpool’s striker litter, but Rodgers should limit them to 90 minutes of action per seven days in order to lower the risk of more soft-tissue injuries.

The only logical conclusion is to rely on Ings while the others slowly return to a condition in which they can play two or more games per week, for club or country. Rodgers will build Ings’ sharpness and confidence with regular games against tough opponents, while making Sturridge and Beneteke work even harder to displace their less heralded Englishman. Liverpool might score fewer goals than otherwise, but this approach could safeguard against another striker shortage.

Imagine how happy Rodgers will be if he enters the winter months with three hungry, fit and firing strikers at the exact moment when the difficulty of Liverpool’s Premier League schedule eases.

Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@LivEchoLFC

Previous Article

Giants’ Shane Vereen Tries To Tweet A Picture, Fails Miserably (Photo)

Next Article

NFL Week 4 TV Schedule Maps: Dolphins-Jets In London Opens Jam-Packed Slate

Picked For You