By 90Min
October 24, 2018

When you think of Daniel Sturridge, your mind goes to one of two things. First, his natural and instinctive potency in front of goal, and second, the injuries which have long plagued his career. But they are both inextricably linked.

You can profess Sturridge is up there as one of the Premier League's most gifted strikers, but in the same breath you must also set out the terms and conditions of such a statement - 'when he is fit'. 

Those four words have tortured the Liverpool faithful since his Anfield career became riddled with injury in the aftermath of his prolific 2013/14 campaign, as he never looked the same player in the years since - until now.

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At the start of the summer, it was assumed the England international would be moved on after he spent the second half of the season on loan with West Brom - a miserable stint which only returned 166 minutes of league action after he again broke down with injury. 

Yet, remarkably, the 29-year-old returned to pre-season training at Melwood reinvigorated for the gruelling months ahead after being shown what life would be like away from Merseyside - and he has yet to falter or find himself in the treatment room. 

He has instead become one of the most important figures in Jurgen Klopp's attack this term and has added a touch of star quality beyond their settled front three. 

With Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino all appearing to need an oil change in the early parts of the campaign, Sturridge has stepped up to the plate and showcased why he is exactly what the Reds were missing. 

While Liverpool were not short on goals last season after amassing 135 across all competitions, at times they needed a sprinkle of star dust from the bench, a game changer, and an experienced goal scorer - qualities which Sturridge possesses in abundance. 

He's always had that edge which makes fans rise to their feet in anticipation but it has always been a case of whether or not his body was capable of such feats, and so far this term he has given himself every opportunity to do so. 

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He has been named in each of Liverpool's 12 match day squads to date - only failing to cross the white line on two occasions. It is a run which has only occurred twice his last four seasons at Anfield combined. 

Strurridge's new found reliability has already seen him find the back of the net four times, two of which proved to be the difference in ensuring Liverpool did not surrender maximum points - the first against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League and then against Chelsea in the top flight.

But, more than that, the 29-year-old looks stronger, fitter and more content in what his body will now allow him to do. He will never rediscover the breathtaking form which saw him establish a fearsome partnership with Luis Suarez, but that is not what Liverpool need anymore. 

The Reds have the pace and part of the formula for success in other forward players, but the strikers' game awareness and intelligence makes him a unique asset who Liverpool can turn to as part of their squad rotation or when they need a genuine game changer. 

It is a far cry from Klopp turning to the likes of Dominic Solanke or Danny Ings in moments of need, and Sturridge deserves credit for turning his fortunes around.

With hopes to progress into the latter stages of the Champions League and mount a sustained title challenge, Liverpool will be thankful for having a top calibre attacking weapon to call on.

The season is still in its infancy but the terms and conditions pertaining to Sturridge's on field ability have been thrown out of the window for the time being, after he successfully transitioned from an outcast to a key contributor for Liverpool. 

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