Brendan Rodgers has admitted he is losing faith in Daniel Sturridge as Liverpool’s first-choice striker after a season of fitness problems and could look to sign a forward who can play ‘at a top level every week’.
Sturridge has managed to appear in just 18 of Liverpool’s 52 matches this season due to a number of injuries and will also miss Saturday’s trip to West Bromwich Albion with a hip problem.
Rodgers is unclear on when the England international will be next available and the Reds boss frustration was clear when he admitted Sturridge’s reliability, or lack of, could force Liverpool’s hand in the transfer market.
Sturridge’s fitness problems have almost compounded the impact the loss of Luis Suarez has had this campaign with Liverpool looking a shadow of the potent attacking threat they commanded last season.
And asked whether Sturridge could be considered the club’s number one forward next season, according to The Times Rodgers replied: “He’s not fit and once he can show that consistency and fitness, you can see in his performance level that it’s a high one.
“But obviously he has missed a lot of the season so we need to assess it. Either way, if he’s not available, we need to have that support.
“We have to hope with Daniel that this year was just an unlucky season and he can come back super-fit and super-strong because he has an immense talent. You can’t argue with that. He can be as good as any striker in the world with his talent.”
But perhaps the crucial moment came when the Northern Irish coach said: “I need one that is going to be playing and at a top level every week.”
Incredibly, Sturridge and Suarez scored a combined 52 goals last season but this season Sturridge and the Uruguayan’s supposed replacements; Mario Balotelli, Rickie Lambert and Fabio Borini, have produced just eight goals in the Premier League between them.
“It’s not rocket science,” said Rodgers. “We haven’t scored enough goals this year. If the sequence goes on we are on course to be around 60 goals down on last year.
“That’s a huge amount. I came in the season before and we had 49 goals, so you’re taking nearly a season of goals out of the team.”