After watching Liverpool give up a dramatic late winner to Villarreal CF from the bench last Thursday, Reds striker Daniel Sturridge was restored to the starting eleven for Sunday’s visit to the Liberty Stadium, but he was unable to make an impact as the Anfield outfit were rolled over 3-1 and he was straight down the tunnel following the final whistle without so much as a quick clap for the travelling supporters.
“If someone forgot to say thank you to the fans, then it’s my fault and nobody else’s,” said Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp following the final whistle. “If you think we ignore the fans it’s not what we wanted. I went too immediately,” said the charismatic German, responding to criticism of the 26-year old and his apparent disinterest in the Reds dedicated support. “Hopefully our fans know how close we are to them. After a game like this, he wants to leave and go home, recover and do a lot of things.”
Sturridge, of course, has a bit of a reputation for getting moody. While it’s easy to interpret his dour face and sunken shoulders when he’s being substituted or his unimpressed expression when he’s watching from the bench as him sulking rather than him being a competitive professional athlete that demands so much more from himself, it’s hard to ignore the growing disconnect between himself and the Liverpool fan base. Although he’s been scoring on a rather consistent basis since finally returning to action, assertions in the papers and on social media that he doesn’t want to play — or, at least, that he doesn’t want to play for the Reds — have obviously got him feeling frazzled.
“Even some of the people who’ve played with me don’t actually know me. Because they’re a team-mate, doesn’t necessarily mean we’re friends or we talk outside of work. But anybody who knows me will know that I’m one of the most ambitious people out there,” said Sturridge, hitting back at his critics. “And for people to say, ‘Oh he don’t try enough or he doesn’t want to be fit’… do you honestly believe I’d want to just be sat down picking up wages when I’ve dreamt of being a professional footballer ever since I can remember?,” questioned the 26-year old, miffed that anyone would suggest otherwise. “I’m not here for a jolly-up. Liverpool, for me, is work. It’s a job. It’s something I take seriously and for anyone to question my integrity, it’s disrespectful.”