Can you see a pattern emerging? Over the last five years there has been a significant inflation the the price of British players, and at an alleged 12 million pounds, Liverpool’s new signing, Daniel Sturridge certainly falls into that category. However, unlike certain other expensive English buys at Anfield over the last couple of seasons, Andy Carroll and Stewart Downing to name but a few, there seems to be a positive feeling emanating that, this time, there could be value for money.
First, lets take a look at some of the other expensive home-grown purchases that Liverpool have made over the last 18 months:
Andy Carroll: A panic, deadline day buy to compensate for the loss of Fernando Torres. He was signed at the same time as Luis Suarez and has failed to have even a quarter of the impact that the Uruguayan hitman has. At £35 million pounds he became the most expensive British transfer of all time and to show for it he has 6 goals in 44 games and a loan move to West Ham. Destined to be sold in the summer.
Stewart Downing: Signed off the back of a brilliant season with Aston Villa, Reds fans were prepared to overlook the £20 million price tag, but a fruitless season, which failed to produce a single goal or assist has seen those same fans grow increasingly frustrated with the England winger. Will probably be sold in January or the summer.
Jordan Henderson: For many fans the jury is still out on this one. Improved performances so far this season have given the Kop hope that he can blossom into the player that he promises to be, but at £16 million pounds, the truth is Liverpool have still overspent. Will probably stay but will struggle to be a regular starter.
So why is there a more positive feeling around Merseyside that Daniel Sturridge is a better fit for Liverpool than the flops mentioned above?
First and foremost the England striker will fit into the Tiki-Taka style of football that Brendan Rodgers likes to play as well as adding a well needed physical presence up front that Luis Suarez cannot offer. Sturridge is a clever footballer who posses pace, power, creativity and an eye for goal and should thrive playing in the same team as the likes of Suarez, Steven Gerrard and Raheem Sterling. He will also offer an aerial outlet from set pieces and crosses that Liverpool currently only get from their centre backs, without being the lumbering, archetypal big striker that the Liverpool boss clearly doesn’t like.
Secondly, he has a track record of scoring goals in the premier league when given a run of games in the first team. It took him some time to establish himself as a premier league player but after a loan spell at Bolton where he scored 8 goals in 12 games and a significant run in Chelsea’s first team at the start of last season where he scored 4 in 4 games and had 9 by Christmas, not prolific by any means but impressive for a 22 year old in his first full season in the first team at a massive club. It is likely that he will play in his preferred striker role, with top scorer Luis Suarez dropping just behind him and if they can strike up a relationship then it is one that guarantees goals.
Finally, it is worth noting that Brendan Rodgers is very shrewd when it comes to the transfer market, he will only look at and sign players that he is sure can fit into and excel in his style of play. Sturridge is a player that Rodgers would have had under his wing when he was a coach at Chelsea and will know a lot about and how to get the best out of. This is different to Kenny Dalglish, who signed Carroll, Downing and Henderson without a definitive and unwavering coaching style and system in place and therefore they found it more difficult to flourish.
Nothing is ever certain in football and it could turn out that Sturridge, like many Liverpool signings before him, could become an expensive benchwarmer at Anfield but I, for one, get the feeling that he may just cement himself in the hearts of the red side of the city.
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This article was first posted on January 5, 2013