Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge has been tipped to leave the club in the summer transfer window after slipping down the pecking order at Anfield. The England international has endured another campaign dominated by injury, registering just two Premier League goals this season for the Reds.
Sturridge has not played since in the defeat to Hull City at the start of February and has missed the last three games with a hip injury – forcing his omission from the England squad for the international double-header against Germany and Lithuania. Manager Jurgen Klopp could have the 27-year-old available when the club season resumes but there remain concerns over his future.
The former Chelsea and Manchester City forward was linked with a move to West Ham United in the January transfer window – a move which never materialised – but his exit from Liverpool could yet be completed at the end of the season. Former defender Phil Babb, who played for the club between 1994 and 2000, believes this term will be the last for Sturridge on Merseyside.
"If you're going to talk about Daniel Sturridge, a phenomenal talent around the penalty box but laden with injury season after season," he told Sky Sports. "He hasn't played enough games but his goal to games ratio is fantastic.
"I think he's coming to the end of his tenure at Liverpool. I think Klopp wants a different type of striker, one he can rely on more from a physical point of view. I wouldn't be surprised if Daniel Sturridge left Liverpool this summer."
The synergy forget by Roberto Firmino, Adam Lallana, Sadio Mane and Philippe Coutinho has been the main contributing factor behind Sturridge's lack of opportunities this term, while Divock Origi has become the automatic choice off the bench. But former Liverpool winger John Barnes feels Sturridge's exit is not necessarily inevitable and that unless a club match their valuation, he will remain until the end of the summer transfer window.
"I think he's got a contract, so, unless someone comes in and makes a bid that Liverpool accept and are obviously going to pay him the salary that he wants, he will remain at Anfield," he told IBTimes UK. "When people talk about players leaving clubs, first of all you need somebody to buy them and you need somebody to match their wages. If that doesn't happen, players stay at clubs.
"If that doesn't happen, and, with his injury record, clubs may not come in for him, it's a question of... If Daniel Sturridge is fit, of course he's going to be in Liverpool's team. Fit and motivated. If Daniel Sturridge is injured, obviously this is when the question marks come up against him and about his future at Liverpool. But as I said, unless somebody is willing to pay the salary that Daniel Sturridge is on and pay the transfer fee, he will be at Liverpool next year."