Is Liverpool's interest in Sturridge logical?
- By Martin Laurence (WhoScored.com) | December 20, 2012 3:53:33 PM PST
When the club and new manager decided to let Andy Carroll leave on loan, their apparent inability or lack of desire to sign a replacement was widely criticised. In turn, it seems Liverpool have looked to solve the issue before the transfer window has even re-opened, reportedly tying up a deal to bring Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge to Anfield.
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Sturridge, like Theo Walcott -- another player touted with a move to Liverpool -- has become disheartened by a shortage of chances in his favoured central striking role. But does a switch to Anfield really make sense?
There is no way that Brendan Rodgers is going to sacrifice his best player by moving Suarez out to the flanks, so surely the new man will have to make do with a wide berth once again. The move may not fit the player, but will it fit the club?
If the deal goes ahead, Sturridge will be tasked with replicating the sort of form that he showed at Bolton, scoring eight times in 12 appearances during his loan spell at the tail end of the 2010/11 season. He returned to Chelsea with renewed expectations bestowed upon him, but despite netting 11 league goals -- five more than Fernando Torres and Juan Mata and six more than Didier Drogba -- to end the season as the Blues' joint-top scorer, Sturridge never really got the run in the team that he perhaps warranted.
With creation not an issue, Liverpool's downfall has been their woeful chance conversion in recent seasons. And though Sturridge would add goals, he is another player often guilty of wasting chances.
Since the start of the 2011/12 campaign, no side has a worse conversion rate than Liverpool's 6.2% in the Premier League. The likes of Manchester United (14%), Manchester City (11.9%), Arsenal (11.2%) and Chelsea (10.1%) all rank in the top five for the same category, so it is abundantly clear where Liverpool need to play catch up if they are to push for the Champions League qualification that Rodgers feels his side are capable of attaining.
The two Liverpool players with the best conversion rate in that time -- Maxi Rodriguez (17.4%) and Craig Bellamy (14.3%) -- have since left the club, leaving Steven Gerrard as the current crops top finisher (10%). Top scorer Suarez doesn't reach double figures in terms of chance conversion (9.4%), and while the emergence of youngsters at the club has been a positive, the likes of Jonjo Shelvey (2.3%) and Raheem Sterling (3.3%) have spurned numerous chances this season.
Although Sturridge boasts a better record in front of goal than any of his potential teammates (11.8%), his figures won't be wholly encouraging to the Liverpool faithful. When considering the likes of Dimitar Berbatov and Javier Hernandez whom have both converted over 23% of their chances in the same time period, with the former having been available in the summer, the Reds haven't opted for a clinical finisher. The aforementioned Walcott has a superior conversion rate at 13.3%, while his much maligned teammate Gervinho isn't far behind (11.3%).
Sturridge's shot accuracy is equally unspectacular (36.3%), though it is up on Suarez's 33.9%. But what you will get from the England international is volume when it comes to shots at goal. Only 22 players have averaged more shots per game since the start of last season than Sturridge (2.76) and only four of those have made more of their appearances as a substitute than the Chelsea man in that time (eight).
However, in Suarez, Liverpool already have the forward who has fired off more shots than any other player in the league over this season and last (224). Questions have already begun to be asked whether the duo would complement one another and it is hard to see that they would.
Furthermore, a look at the 23-year-old's player characteristics at WhoScored.com shows that he has weaknesses in passing and holding onto the ball. Such traits don't really lend themselves to Rodgers' football philosophy.
Maybe an apparent snag over agent fees at Liverpool could end up being a blessing in disguise.
*All stats courtesy of WhoScored.com