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Sturridge was sent on loan to West Bromwich Albion in January having failed to secure regular football for Jurgen Klopp’s side. Since returning to Liverpool, he’s featured in all three of the team’s pre-season matches so far, and those outings appear to have ignited his confidence of sticking around.
“I see myself staying at Liverpool, hopefully being part of the team week in, week out,” he said, per Matt Lawless of the Daily Mirror. “Pre-season is going well, so for me it’s keeping my head down and building on that. I’m excited about the season ahead and it feels great to be back.”
Having scored a brace against Chester and then featured against Tranmere Rovers and Bury, Sturridge is also expected to play on Thursday against Blackburn Rovers before the team heads off on their tour of the United States, Lawless added.
You sense a true test of Sturridge’s standing in the squad will come in the States, when Liverpool will take on the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund. As we can see below, Klopp has also confirmed there will be a number of crucial forwards back in the squad for that trip:
The Anfield Wrap @TheAnfieldWrap
Jürgen Klopp confirms Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Xherdan Shaqiri will take part in the Reds’ US tour… ????????
???? Subscribe and listen to our immediate post-match reaction show from @buryfcofficial ???? https://t.co/Y74hlJ4yQF https://t.co/247EqhCRol
Last season was one to forget for Sturridge, as he found it tough to force his way into the Liverpool attack ahead of the likes of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, who shone as a triumvirate.
In search of football and perhaps with a FIFA World Cup spot with England in mind, he moved to the Baggies on a temporary deal. However, he suffered an injury that limited him to just six appearances for West Brom, including just two starts.
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Given Sturridge will turn 29 in September, this is a crucial point in his career, and after a bright beginning to pre-season, it’s clear he still has something to offer. Neil Atkinson of The Anfield Wrap has enjoyed what he has seen from Sturridge lately:
Neil Atkinson @Knox_Harrington
Going to spend 2 days daydreaming about Daniel Sturridge here. Just when I thought I was out…
At his best, the England international was a blistering player, with his partnership with Luis Suarez during the 2013-14 campaign the zenith of his Liverpool career.
However, since then his status at Anfield has been on the downturn. Injuries have proved so costly to Sturridge, robbing him of the chance to build momentum, secure a spot in the side and offer the dynamism that made him such a force earlier in his career.
Now, as Sky News’ Jimmy Rice suggested, he’s very much a rotation player for the Reds:
Jimmy Rice @JimmyRiceWriter
Balls to City and the league, we’re having the Carabao Cup next season with this second team:
Although Sturridge may have belief in his ability to force his way into the XI on a regular basis, it’d take something extraordinary to oust one of the trio mentioned. Firmino, who plays in Sturridge’s preferred centre-forward berth, brings an intensity the England man simply can’t offer anymore.
Moving on and finding himself regular football is surely the best course of action for Sturridge this summer if he’s to put recent years of disappointment behind him.