With Liverpool’s lack of strikers to support Luis Suarez coming under intense scrutiny during the first half of the 2012-13 season, the name of Daniel Sturridge kept resurfacing as a new transfer-window got closer. It was not, therefore, a major surprise when on the first working day after the New Year, Liverpool F.C. confirmed that the 23-year-old forward had signed a long-term deal to become a permanent addition to the squad of manager Brendan Rodgers. With Fabio Borini having had a long spell out with a foot injury and Andy Carroll on a season-long loan at West Ham United, the urgency of the situation had not been lost on the club’s manager or its managing director, Ian Ayre. Having been thwarted in an attempt to sign an adequate replacement or foil for Suarez in the summer, it was clear that the same mistake could not be made twice. Ayre commented after securing Sturridge’s signature on a contract: “It was important to us that we did all of the work ahead of the transfer window in talking to Chelsea and the player and his representatives. We made sure we did that so we could hit the ground running in January - and here we are today on the second and we're all done and dusted.”
Sturridge was born in the Midlands and played at youth level for both Aston Villa and Coventry City before heading north to join Manchester City’s Academy in 2003. Three years later, still only 16-years-old, his goals helped City reach the FA Youth Cup final where his brace gave the Blues hope in the second leg as they tried to claw back a three-goal deficit from the first leg at Anfield. Although Liverpool’s youngsters took the trophy home with them after a 3-2 aggregate victory, Sturridge had announced himself as someone to be watched. However, his opportunities for playing in City’s first team were limited and shortly before his twentieth birthday he signed a four-year deal with Chelsea. The Londoners won the Premier League title at the end of his first full season at Stamford Bridge but, as in Manchester, his contribution was not massive, just one goal from thirteen League matches, but he was much more prominent in the FA Cup that season, netting four times and coming on as a very late substitute at Wembley in the final as Chelsea beat Portsmouth to add the domestic cup to their Premier League crown.
Halfway through the following season, Sturridge had a very successful loan spell at Bolton Wanderers. Eight goals from twelve appearances was a very creditable goals-per-game ratio. But it still wasn’t enough to get him a regular starting spot in the Chelsea team when he returned to London under new manager Andre Villas-Boas, who had replaced Carlo Ancelotti that summer. As in 2009/10 Chelsea had a strong finish to their season and the young striker was an unused substitute in both the FA Cup final and the Champions League final. But he did score eleven League goals, including an equaliser at Stamford Bridge against the club who would eventually sign him from Chelsea.
With Olympic mania sweeping through Great Britain in 2012, Daniel Sturridge was named in the mens’ squad to represent the host nation. It initially looked as if illness would keep him out of the tournament. But he was fit enough to make the team and score the winning goal against Uruguay as the British team finished top of its group. At the quarter-final stage, however, Great Britain were eliminated by South Korea on penalties after a drawn match. Although Sturridge missed his penalty-kick in the shoot-out, it is unlikely to cause him as much lasting anguish as another important penalty that was missed by his team manager, Stuart Pearce, over twenty years earlier.
Sturridge only appeared in seven League matches for Chelsea in the first half of the 2012/13 season as increasing speculation linked him with a move back to a north-west club. Then, almost as soon as the transfer-window opened, that move happened. The player’s instant reaction was that he was thrilled to have signed for “one of the biggest clubs in the world”. Although he had a few recent injury worries behind him, he seemed genuinely excited to be “part of something new and something special," the words he described the way the club was progressing under its new manager, Brendan Rodgers. Sturridge was an instant success, scoring in each of his first three appearances, something no Liverpool player had done since Ray Kennedy in 1974. Ten Premier League goals plus one in the FA Cup was a more than satisfactory return from the sixteen matches he appeared in between January and May. In the penultimate match of the season at Fulham he scored a superb hat-trick for a team that was by then without the services of Luis Suarez due to suspension for biting Chelsea's Ivanovic.
Sturridge flourished as Luis Suarez completed his ten-game ban at the start of the 2013/14 season, six goals in six matches proving that he was quite capable of taking on the responsibility of scoring the goals. But once the Uruguayan returned they proved to be a sensational double-act as well. Sturridge scored Liverpool's first and last Premier League goals of the season and added a further twenty-two in-between (19 league plus 3 in the domestic cups) to take his total since arriving to a very impressive 35 in 49 matches, a strike-rate that was easily good enough to ensure that he was included in Roy Hodgson's England squad for the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil. Sturridge quickly equalised Italy's first goal in the opening group match but was replaced by Adam Lallana with ten minutes left as England again chased an equaliser after Mario Balotelli had restored Italy's lead. The striker made another start against Uruguay four days later and also played throughout the final group match against Costa Rica.
Sturridge's 2014/15 season was badly disrupted by injuries that saw him restricted to only twelve Premier League matches plus six cup-ties. Although he scored the winning goal in the opening league match against Southampton only four more goals followed as successive thigh injuries ruled him out for long periods. His final appearance of the season came early in April in a cup replay at Blackburn Rovers. A month later he was travelling to America for surgery on a hip problem that had caused him to miss so many matches. Already struggling without the goals of Luis Suarez also losing Sturridge's contribution as a goalscorer for most of the season was something nobody could have anticipated and unsurprisingly the number of goals scored was significantly down from the previous year.
Although the surgery was a success, the rehabilitation period means that he was not expected to see action again until at least September 2015. he did so but was injured after just a few games and was used cautiously by Jürgen Klopp after his appointment in October. The German put him through an extensive pre-season style fitness programme and he was a key player in the Europa League, scoring a stunning opening goal in the final against Sevilla. Despite all his difficulties he finished the season with thirteen goals in 24 games but after appearing to be over everything, injured his hip the week before 2016/17 was due to begin, meaning he missed the opening game at Arsenal. He was fit by the end of August but started only nine games and 2017/18 was also frustrating as Klopp preferred other attacking options. In the first half of the season he appeared nine times in the league, completing the ninety minutes just once. In the Champions League, he made five group stage appearances, each as a second half substitute. Due to these limited opportunities Sturridge was loaned out to West Bromwich Albion in January 2018, but his spell there was a huge disappointment, again plagued by injury. He started just two league games and came off the bench four times, failing to score as Albion were relegated.
For pre-season 2018 Sturridge had an opportunity due to other players returning late from World Cup duty. After impressing Jrgen Klopp told journalists at the end of July that Sturridge would have a role to play in 2018/19 if he stayed fit and even suggested that he may have an individual training programme tailored for him. On the opening day of the season, he scored within a minute of coming on as a late substitute against West Ham. He then scored on his first start, heading the opening goal against Paris Saint Germain in the first group stage game of the Champions League. However despite maintaining his fitness for the season, opportunities were limited and in the second half of the season Divock Origi was preferred as the back up striker to Mane, Firmino or Salah. 20 of his 27 appearances were from the bench and it was confirmed on 4th June 2019 that he would be leaving the club when his deal expired at the end of the month.
Sturridge received a two week ban from football in July 2019 after being found guilty of breaching betting rules. On 21 August that year, he agreed a three year deal with Turkish side Trabzonspor. When the ban was increased to four months after an appeal by the FA that it was unduly lenient, Sturridge and Trabzonspor terminated the deal by mutual consent. In a video posted on his YouTube account at the beginning of March 2020, he said he felt uncomfortable taking wages from a club to whom he could not contribute. His time there had again been disrupted by injuries, with his thigh, toe, Achilles tendon and calf all posing him problems. Sturridge was without a club for almost two years until he signed for Perth Glory In Australia in September 2021.