Daniel Sturridge is confident he will force Liverpool to offer him a new contract this season as he has returned to Anfield a better player than when he left.
That might seem like a strange boast given a loan move to West Bromwich Albion in January turned into another frustrating, injury-ravaged period in the 28-year-old’s career, but Sturridge has looked bright and motivated in pre-season as he enters the final 12 months of his current deal.
Sturridge, who was left out of England’s squad for the World Cup because of his poor fitness record as well as a lack of game time, feels the time away from Liverpool was still spent productively.
Jürgen Klopp has indicated he wants Sturridge to stay and fight for a first team place and the relationship between them is as strong as ever.
That is testimony to the German’s clever man management, given he sent Sturridge out on loan to fight a relegation battle in the Midlands a few months ago as he did not have any need for him.
“It was good going on out on loan,” said Sturridge, who failed to score in six appearances for WBA after suffering another hamstring injury. “I don’t regret anything. The experience made me grow as a person. That is what it is all about.
“Evolving as a man, evolving as a footballer. From the outside looking in, you can also improve. When you are on the inside looking out, you sometimes don’t get to see what you have to do to get to the next level – how you need to change your game.
“When you are on the inside, you don’t see it. When you are on the outside, you can assess things differently. I have always been hungry. The hunger will never change. I’m taking every day as it comes with a positive mind-set.”
Sturridge even saw his exclusion frim Liverpool’s run to the Champions League final as a positive thing and he sums up the collective mood on the dressing room when he said they are sick of near misses.
Given the talent at his disposal, this feels like the season Klopp has to end the club’s trophy drought, with the ultimate ambition to win the league for the first time since 1990
“It’s just great to be part of the club and helping and making sure that we can win games,” added Sturridge, whose return is likely to restrict England Under-21 international Dominic Solanke’s first team involvement unless there a lot of injuries to attacking players.
“It’s about the team. It’s about what we do as a bunch. Everyone is pushing themselves to the limit because we have got a big season ahead. We feel we can do something special, so we are all pushing ourselves as far as we can go.
“I just want to help the team win something. That’s what it’s about. We want to win something. We have been close before a lot of times. I wasn’t here for last season’s Champions League but it was so close. So close. We want to win something.”https://www.telegraph.co.uk/football/2018/07/29/hungry-daniel-sturridge-determined-earn-new-liverpool-contract/
If he is playing for a new contract, I have confidence he will stay fit throughout and be a huge asset. However, even if he ends up scoring 20+ PL goals this season, I still wouldn't like to see us offer him a new contract.