Last season was a stand-out campaign for Daniel Sturridge, as the English striker bagged 21 goals and seven assists in just 29 league appearances for the Reds. A thigh injury at the start of September ground Dancing Danny’s new season to a halt, but now Liverpool’s saviour has returned as the Merseysiders kick on towards a top four spot.
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A hat-tip to Leo Kellenberger in PP Design for some top work on Daniel Sturridge
Incredibly this season Liverpool’s defence is marginally better than it was last year at this stage of the season – despite the Reds being eight points worse off this time around. They’ve conceded 27 goals this season and kept nine clean sheets, whereas at this stage last year, they had seven clean sheets and had conceded 29 goals. The key difference has been getting on the scoresheet themselves.
Luis Suarez swapped the fake tan of Merseyside for the Catalan sunshine, while Daniel Sturridge’s injury, combined with Rickie Lambert and Mario Balotelli’s struggles in front of goal, have left Liverpool void of a key goal-getter. Brendan Rodgers’ men had scored 58 goals at this stage last season, but this campaign that number has almost halved, with just 33 goals to their name this season. It isn’t for a lack of trying either – as they have created 11.7 chances a game this year, compared to 12.7 chances a game last campaign.
Last season however, they were converting 19.5 per cent of those chances, compared to 12.3 per cent this year. Luckily Dancing Danny is back, and his rate of scoring makes the 11/2 on Liverpool to make the top four look very interesting indeed.
As our infographic shows, Sturridge has a conversion rate of 24 per cent for Liverpool in the area in the Premier League, meaning he needs just four shots inside the box to find the net. Dancing Danny has averaged either a goal or an assist every 86 minutes in the top flight for Liverpool, and if he can keep that average up Liverpool can make a real assault on the Champions League spots.
Despite the lack of firepower in front of goal, Liverpool are just four points off a top four place with Tottenham and Manchester United due at Anfield before the end of March. Last season Liverpool started the calender year with 14 wins and two draws, and they’re hitting a similar run of form again this time around with five wins and two draws in their last seven games.
Momentum is with Brendan Rodgers, and with Daniel Sturridge coming back into the side a top four finish is certainly possible.