One of Liverpool's greatest ever scorers has been impressed with the early displays of Daniel Sturridge in a red shirt, and sees him as a piece of the puzzle that Liverpool's been missing for years.
I think we're all past the point of doubting whether or not the decision to add Daniel Sturridge was a good one--as much as any conclusion can be drawn after two months, it seems as though general consensus has the English forward as the type of buy that Liverpool's needed since Fernando Torres left, and in many ways he's proved the perfect foil for Luis Suarez.
Mentioning Torres and Suarez in the same sentence will inevitably trigger a thousand what if scenarios about the possibility that the January transfer window in 2010 could have gone differently. And while there's plenty of wondering to be done about how that might have turned out, the current returns are plenty positive, enough to the point that Ian Rush has highlighted the vital contributions Sturridge has added to this Liverpool squad:
"He's a natural goalscorer. The goal he scored against Manchester City, there was no backlift, it was a fantastic strike. Before he came, the opposition focused mainly on Luis Suarez and Stevie [Gerrard] but with Sturridge, there's an added danger. He seems to gel well with Suarez and Stevie.
"He gets the tap ins as well. [In the past] we've had plenty of great shots where the ball has hit the post and come back or the keeper has saved and we've just been looking for someone to come along and tap the ball in. Sturridge does that. Also, his first touch is incredible in and around the box. He's very skilful and he's got a bit of pace. He can drift out to wide left, out to wide right and he can play through the middle."
We are most certainly making too much out of too little--Daniel Sturridge hasn't yet reached double-digits in appearances in a Liverpool shirt, and while he's hit the ground running in terms of goalscoring, there's no promises that his form will continue for the next few weeks let alone the next few years. There's also the talk of an exit for Luis Suarez in the near future; the Uruguayan will rightfully be targeted by clubs across the continent over the summer, with Liverpool hoping to keep him around for at least another season and opposition supporters hoping to have a chance to abandon their moral high ground to welcome a player that they knew was a good guy all along.
And yet, there's still an air of optimism around Daniel Sturridge that doesn't even need to be qualified as cautious. Maybe it's his early form, maybe it's how very very wrong he's made his doubters (present company included) look, or maybe it's just the fact that Liverpool supporters have really hoped for something good to happen on the pitch in the last few seasons.
Whatever it is, Liverpool's new forward has provided it, and he's done so in a manner that makes us think that this squad is capable of much, much more with him in it. Whether that's realistic or fair or ultimately accurate isn't really the point--what matters right now is that Liverpool have found a player that's managed to lift the squad and its fans, and there's at least the slightest possibility that all involved will be able to continue to do so moving forward.