At one point, Daniel Sturridge appeared to be one of English football’s most promising strikers, being a key part of the pulsating attack that fired Liverpool on their Premier League title challenge in 2013/2014.
But his career since those halcyon days eight years ago has nosedived, with the striker suffering betting bans and being battered by injury problems. Sturridge arrived at Liverpool in 2013 in a £12million deal from Chelsea, having struggled to make the grade at Stamford Bridge or previous club Manchester City.
The move to Anfield sparked his career into life as he developed a reputation as a reliable goalscorer. His partnership with Luis Suarez was the foundation of the Reds’ ultimately unsuccessful title challenge, during which he scored 24 goals in all competitions.
That proved to the high-point of his career though, with Sturridge being released by Liverpool in 2019 after their Champions League win. After his exit from Anfield, the striker penned a three-year deal with Trabzonspor.
Things appeared to be going well for the Englishman in the Turkish Super Lig, scoring seven goals in his first 16 appearances. But again injury issues plagued his time at the Senol Gunes Stadium, with Sturridge missing 15 games due to a variety of fitness problems.
Matters got even even worse at the start of March 2020, when Trabzonspor released Sturridge unexpectedly, before it emerged he had been banned from football for four months. The ban came as a result of a commission finding he had breached betting rules.
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The FA had appealed a commission’s previous ban of six weeks, with the appeal board also doubling the fine Sturridge had to pay to £150,000. The reason behind Sturridge’s ban was that he had been found to have instructed his brother Leon to bet on a possible move to Spanish side Sevilla.
Sturridge was left devastated by the ban and hit out at the practice of allowing bets to be placed on players moving clubs. He spent more than a year out of the game and at one point suggested he was moving to a career in music.
In August 2021, he posted several pictures alongside a music producer known as @repko_. The post was captioned: “Real recognize real! @repko_ and I have become partners in @embassymg. We’re on the lookout for more producers, loop makers and artists to win with. Any artists who want beats hit us up for that – let’s get it!”
Finally, 18 months after his release from Trabzonspor, he returned to football, signing for Australian A-League side Perth Glory. That move has turned out to be a disaster though, with Sturridge restricted to just five appearances, all of which have been as a substitute.
Injury issues have again kept him mostly on the sidelines, with the striker having not appeared since pulling up with a groin injury during a defeat to Macarthur in February. After that game, Glory coach Richard Garcia revealed his frustration that Sturridge kept “breaking down”.
“I keep trying to bring him back and he keeps breaking down. We’ve got to get to grips with it and find out where he’s at. He keeps getting to certain stages … we’ll have to wait and see how this one turns up. Hopefully it’s nothing,” Garcia said.
“We had him in at half-time, and then he did it so quickly that maybe he didn’t have enough time to warm up. He’s disappointed. We’ve got to take a look at it. Hopefully, it’s not as bad as it felt. He’s a pretty strong guy. He’s had these injuries before. It’s just about him coming back from it.”
That proved to be the final game Sturridge would play under Garcia though, with the Australian sacked in March with the club bottom of the A-League. They have won just three games all season, with Garcia revealing his unhappiness at the decision to sign Sturridge in the aftermath of his departure.
“I was aware there were voices in the background that had agendas, but that’s part and parcel of football and being a coach. I don’t think many people realised we were working on a budget,” Garcia told the Western Australian.
“People go on about Sturridge but when you ask for money, you’re told there is none, and that (Sturridge signing) happens … that’s another issue. The less said about Sturridge the better.”
Sturridge’s deal was only for one year and his injury problems, coupled with Perth’s financial problems, makes it hard to see him extending his stay in Australia. It is the latest low point in what has been a desperately disappointing downturn in his career.