Former Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge has claimed he is better now than when he joined the club as he begins training with Spanish side Real Mallorca.
Sturridge was one of Liverpool’s key attacking threats after joining from Chelsea in 2013. He formed a lethal trio with Luis Suarez and Raheem Sterling which took the Reds to within two points of the 2013/14 Premier League title. However, his time at the club was blighted with injuries.
Over time, he faded out of the first team picture at Anfield as new talents emerged onto the scene.
A loan spell at West Brom did nothing to help revive his career. Ultimately, he was sold to Turkish side Trabzonspor in 2019.
He signed a three-year deal. But this was ended just six months later after he received a four-month worldwide ban for breaching betting rules.
The 31-year-old this week begun training with Mallorca in his first taste of professional football since the ban.
He said: “I’m obsessed with being better than I was before. [I’ve been] training day-in and day-out for the last 12 months, even when I was sanctioned.
“Covid-19 came and nobody could play. But looking forward I’m sure I’ll be fine. I’m training so intensely that my performance is better than eight years ago.
“I’m better than before. I’m older, I have more knowledge, my body is in good shape. In terms of my physical form, I didn’t think it was possible to be able to do the things I’m doing now. I’m proving to myself it’s possible and I’m proud of it.”
The 26 cap England international had his first day of training yesterday. It is not clear whether there is an intention from Mallorca to sign him if he performs well.
Regardless, Sturridge clearly feels he has something to give back to the game, having seemingly matured in recent times.
He added: “I know that when it’s time to go to sleep I can say to myself ‘this is not good for you’. I know what I can do and what not.
“I’m responsible for everything that touches me. I am motivated, I want to win and help the team, I want to pass my knowledge on to young players so that they do not make the mistakes that I have made. I want to help them to be the best version of themselves.”
Liverpool progress in midfield plans
Meanwhile, Liverpool are highly unlikely to push through with a bid to sign Youri Tielemans this summer. This comes after they learnt the high price Leicester have stuck on the midfielder’s head.
After Georginio Wijnaldum left as a free agent to join PSG, there are two voids for Liverpool to fill.
On one front, they need to replace the leadership he provided as one of their four core leaders. But more importantly, they need to find a solution to fill his boots in midfield.
A number of big names have been linked, with Tielemans, Yves Bissouma and Florian Neuhaus among those mentioned. However, it is another man who they have seemingly settled on…
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