Daniel Sturridge posted a photo of his man-of-the-match award after his side's 1-0 win over Olympiacos in pre-season
Daniel Sturridge says that he is edging closer to match fitness after picking up the man-of-the-match award after Liverpool’s 1-0 win against Olympiacos last night.
The Reds won against the Greek champions in Chicago last night thanks to a Raheem Sterling goal but, despite not finding the net, it was Sturridge who was given most of the plaudits.
The striker showed excellent link-up play throughout, as he spearheaded an attacking trio made up of new signing Lazar Markovic and the aforementioned Sterling.
Indeed, he set up the only goal of the match to provide Liverpool victory. The assist was rather fortuitous, after his miss-hit shot went straight into Sterling’s path, but he will be happy to have been so involved in a game.
Sturridge is under pressure to step up his game even further this season because of the departure of Luis Suarez to Barcelona and Liverpool fans will be encouraged by this initial display.
The English striker managed to notch 21 times last season, but that tally was dwarfed by Suarez who managed to net 31 times on his way to the Premier League top scorer crown.
Sturridge will now be expected to be the main man up-front and will need to at least match last season’s total if Brendan Rodgers side are to maintain their Champions League status.
Rodgers has already stated that he feels he is ready to be Liverpool’s attacking protagonist, too, saying that he has already seen a difference in the 24-year-old striker since he returned to training.
“I've seen a difference in Daniel since he came back,” he said. “He has obviously got confidence from the World Cup and his season last year. I think he's ready to take on the mantle. He got 20-odd goals last season so he's a striker of great value.”
Sturridge played 75 minutes last night before being replaced by Rickie Lambert, and the former Saints striker will need help to take some of the pressure of his new team-mate.
Lambert signed for Merseyside outfit this summer and, although he is unlikely to be a regular starter, he will need to make an impact to help his side score the goals required for a top four finish.
Can Sturridge make the required step up this season?