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FPL Insight: Daniel Sturridge & Liverpool

March 30, 2016

| The Hype Train |

Recently we were asked about the potential of Daniel Sturridge for the upcoming double gameweeks; the man seemingly made of glass has recovered from his injuries and is getting more minutes under Jürgen Klopp. The Hype Train evaluates if Sturridge is a valuable wildcard asset, whilst also reviewing the position Liverpool are in for the rest of the season.

 

 

Insight: Daniel Sturridge

The man with the dance has been a much talked about figure in the past few years even if he hasn’t played that many minutes since the start of last season. His name has been used as an indication of the severity of injuries and has become the benchmark for players who spend more time on the injury table than on the playing field.

 

For Liverpool in the Premier League the England striker has a goals-to-games ratio of 0.41. This is very good for a striker and only Harry Kane and Sergio Aguero can amount to anything near this figure. With 39 goals from 49 appearances for the Reds he has established himself as one of the most lethal finishers in the Premier League.

 

There is an obvious crux to Sturridge and that is his playing time, having made only seven Premier League starts we look at how his season has unfolded so far.

 

2015/16 Appearances

1 – GW6, vs Norwich. Subbed off at 62mins.

2 – GW7, vs. Aston Villa. Played all 90mins.

3 – GW8, vs Everton. Played all 90mins.

4 – GW14, vs Swansea. Subbed on for 20mins.

5 – GW15, vs Newcastle. Subbed on for 29mins.

6 – GW26, vs Aston Villa. Subbed off at 62mins.

7 – GW27, vs Southampton. Subbed off at 69mins.

 

2015/16 Goals

1 – GW7, vs. Aston Villa

2 – GW7, vs. Aston Villa

3 – GW26, vs. Aston Villa

4 – GW31, vs. Southampton

 

Fair to say that it is obvious the impact he has on Liverpool, he may not be playing much but when he does he is usually on the scoresheet. Aside from the Premier League has played frequently in the Europa League and is looking to start more games under Jürgen Klopp. If the forward wants to stay at Liverpool past this season he will be looking to re-establish his fitness and prove he deserves his place in the squad for next season. There is no argument over ability, with Sturridge it is a matter of consistency which is a cause for plenty of FPL managers who have had the debate of including Sturridge in their teams.

 

Other facts & stats

  • Sturridge has finished 90mins only twice so far this season, in GW7 & GW8, when Brendan Rodgers was still manager.

  • Scored in three of the five starts this season. Has been subbed on twice.

  • Has made no assists so far this season.

  • Not played against a ‘Top Four’ side from last year, or currently from this year either.

 

Is Daniel Sturridge a starter?

For those of you who are new to this season or are catching up with everything the reason why Sturridge has been such a talking point is that when he isn’t injured he is a clinical striker and has an exception goal rate whenever he starts. Alongside Coutinho the England forward is regarded as Liverpool’s best player and at any time can show his talent for Liverpool. Everyone knows he can score sublime goals or value, and now that he has returned from injury the question is asked: will he start every game?

 

Other options include Roberto Firmino who has played in an auxiliary forward position for a large part of this season, and he is the popular choice among the FPL community. Liverpool also has the two Belgian strikers Divock Origi and Christian Benteke, the latter supposedly being frozen out of Anfield after Brendan Rodgers bought him in the summer. Danny Ings has also been side-lined for the rest of the season, so he isn’t to worry about.

 

Out of the options and based on recent appearances we aren’t sure if Sturridge is going to be played every game as he doesn’t suit the Klopp system of high press, but if the Southampton game went by anything he should be playing every game with Origi up top to create and score. The Hype Train believes Daniel Sturridge will start more games for Liverpool, but not all of them, he is being managed more delicately but of recent weeks he has played more minutes in all competition than the first half of the season, so it is looking brighter for his place in the team. Benteke being a substitute player might also push Sturridge to the top of the pecking order. There is however no concrete guarantees Sturridge will get the nod over Origi as the Liverpool attacking setup has changed frequently throughout the season.

 

 

Upcoming Fixtures

Liverpool has an interesting end of season ahead of them; let’s review the rest of their fixtures for the season.

 

GW32: vs Spurs (H)

GW33: vs Stoke (H)

GW34: vs Bournemouth (A) {Double Gameweek}

GW34: vs Everton (H) {Double Gameweek}
GW35: vs Newcastle (H)

GW36: vs Swansea (A)

GW37: vs Watford (H) {Double Gameweek}

GW37: vs Chelsea (H) {Double Gameweek}

GW38: vs West Brom (A)

 

 

Firstly, we need to quantify if these matches hold any value to Liverpool, and their records against them. On paper Liverpool has a good record against most the teams between now and the end of the season, but here are some surprising facts about their upcoming opponents. Sturridge might be a worthwhile gamble against Liverpool’s favoured opposition.

 

Records

TOT: Undefeated against Spurs in last six encounters (5 Wins, 1 Draw).

STK: Liverpool is undefeated against Stoke in last three Premier League matches at home. Stoke haven't scored a Premier League goal at Anfield in those matches.

BOU: Bournemouth has never beaten Liverpool in their clubs history.

EVE: Last time Everton beat Liverpool in any competition was October 2010.

NEW: November 1995 was the last time Newcastle beat Liverpool at Anfield.

SWA: Lost five consecutive games to Liverpool, conceding twelve goals in the process.

WAT: The Hornets beat Liverpool earlier in the season, the first time since 1999.

CHE: Liverpool’s first win against Chelsea in the PL since May 2012 happened this season.

WBA: The Albion hasn’t beaten Liverpool in five matches (3 draws, 2 losses).

 

The only concerning fixtures would be a rejuvenated Chelsea and perhaps Watford, it will be interesting to see if Liverpool responds differently at home against Deeney and company. There is plenty of opportunity for Liverpool to go on the offensive in the latter end of the season, with most of it taking place on home soil in front of the legendary Kop. These home fixtures might mean Sturridge can play more regularly on familiar grounds.

 

Only three games against teams in top half are left for the Reds (Spurs, Stoke, Chelsea), after GW33 only teams in bottom half bar Chelsea face them. Opportunity to be seized for Liverpool as it is with great irony that they are a potential bastion of players for the rest of the season, most of the FPL have ducked and shied away because of their inconsistent form. Never before has there been a better opportunity to want to trust the Liverpool players for the remainder of the season. You wouldn’t need to rotate them and you could focus your transfer on other areas.

 

 

Pros & Cons

In order to sum up the debate, facts, and superstitions we have put together some handy pros and cons about why Sturridge should or should not be considered for your FPL team.

 

Pros:

  • Sturridge is currently the first choice striker for Liverpool.

  • Cheaper than Sergio Aguero, this could allow you to build a better team for the double gameweeks.

  • Proven goal-scorer and has the potential to provide returns every time he plays.

  • Liverpool has a favourable run of fixtures on paper between now and the end of the season, you’d expect there to be points from Liverpool.

  • Sturridge has the opportunity to be in two double gameweeks this season. Will play Bournemouth & Everton in GW34. During GW37 Liverpool face Watford and Chelsea, only Bournemouth features away from Anfield.

  • Liverpool do not skip any more gameweeks, they are present each week until the end of the season. You wouldn’t need to bench him or transfer him out.

 

Cons:

  • Injuries may remove him entirely from contention. His fitness is so unreliable it puts everything in doubt.

  • You may not be able to have Sergio Aguero in your team for gameweek thirty-four due to his price.

  • Has been substituted heavily since his return to the main eleven.

  • Playing time might be reduced if Klopp rotates his team to rest Sturridge and keep him fresh for any of the fixtures against Borussia Dortmund.

  • As mentioned above, Liverpool is in still in Europe and may suffer from the dreaded Europa League hangover.

  • Liverpool as a whole has been wildly inconsistent this season which may translate into performances on the pitch.

 

Verdict

Much more than meets the eye to the inclusion of Daniel Sturridge for the rest of the season, on one hand you would worry about putting him in your fantasy teams. This selection would be a bold and brave move that has every potential to succeed or fail. There are safer options up front in the likes of Aguero and Lukaku which may mean FPL managers just aren’t interested. We are undecided and we are allowed to sit on the fence because on both sides there are reasons for you to have him, and reasons not to have him.

 

Liverpool is a team of wildcards and time and time again they will disappoint you, and if things aren’t working from an attacking prospect they might curtail Sturridge’s minutes to change things up. More concerning is if Roberto Firmino is entrusted up-front in some of these games, he would be a much more wise option than the England striker.

 

Because there is a debate about Sturridge we aren’t so sure if he is worth the risk. We do however believe in wildcards and would want the risk to be worth it. The decision rests on the mind of the FPL manager looking to shake things up between GW34 and GW37.

 

All aboard?

 

 

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