In his second appearance since joining, Daniel Sturridge further endeared himself to Liverpool supporters, notching another goal and vastly improving the side for the forty-five plus minutes he was on the pitch.
There are--or at least were, if early evidence is any indication--many valid reasons for having concerns about Brendan Rodgers' decision to make Daniel Sturridge the main transfer target during the January window. After a rumored deal fell through in the summer, talk of renewed interest at an increased cost was worrisome given that many of the original problems hadn't been resolved. Talk of attitude problems, demands to play centrally, and, as the fall progressed, just a simple lack of playing time.
It became the signing we were all settled on, though, and from the moment he joined he started to put one foot in front of the other in the right direction. Handled the press well, did his homework on this teammates, and seemed to value and relish the chance that Liverpool had taken in bringing him aboard. It could have been and very well could still turn out to be glad-handing for the media, but between what he did prior to taking the pitch and what he's done since, Daniel Sturridge has proven himself to be worth the gamble.
Obviously it's far, far too early to making any sort of actual judgment on his Liverpool career, as it's barely out of the womb. Impressions drawn from just over one match's worth of action, give or take, aren't exactly comprehensive ones, and they may well prove to be a flash in the pan.
But for now I can at least hold my hand up and admit to a possibly unfounded level of discontent at the signing of Daniel Sturridge, who was very good at Mansfield last weekend and made Liverpool a far better side yesterday at Old Trafford. Displaying none of the pretense about which I'd previously worried, he worked hard with and without the ball, showed good movement and decent distribution, a healthy balance of selfish- and selflessness, and got exactly the type of goal that Liverpool haven't scored since the likes of Dirk Kuyt and Maxi left the club.
There's still plenty to be figured out about where he and his attacking cohort fit best; Fabio Borini also featured in a solid cameo, and Luis Suarez improved exponentially once Sturridge came on. Much of the discussion ahead of Sturridge's debut focused on how he'd work with the latter, and if yesterday's display is any indication, that's not necessarily a huge concern.
From here, all he needs to do is more the same--saying the right things off the pitch, working hard when he gets the chance on it, and hopefully it leads to success for both him and the club.