Daniel Sturridge is the 6/5 outsider in a season-long goalscoring match bet with Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke and while the Belgian striker’s cracking form last season kept Villa in the division, Sturridge will definitely get more playing time this year than last, in what is likely to be the first campaign of his career in which he’s a first team starter.
The former Manchester City and Chelsea man’s 10 goals in 11 league games following his move to the Reds in January compare favourably with Benteke’s figures of 19 goals in 34 games and after a stop-start career so far, the England centre-forward can be confident of getting more starts this year under Brendan Rodgers.
Since coming to life on-loan at Bolton two years ago, Sturridge has been consistently amongst the goals in the Premier League – with eight strikes in his 12 game spell at the Reebok – and chipped in with 10 goals the following season after returning to west London, despite only 15 starts.
Liverpool have strengthened in attack over the summer, with former Celta Vigo attacking-mid Iago Aspas brought in to provide more penetration around the box after his 7 assists helped the Galicia club preserve La Liga status last year.
With Philippe Coutinho linking up well with his forwards in the second half of last season – laying on five goals in 12 appearances – and Fabio Borini back from injury, Sturridge can expect to star in a more coherent attacking unit, with even more responsibility if Luis Suarez completes a move to Arsenal.
Benteke was a revelation in his first Premier league season and without him Villa would be down, but after making 34 League appearances last year the former Genk striker will face competition for his place from new signing Nicklas Helenius, who is something of a marksman himself having bagged 16 goals in 33 appearances for Danish side Aalborg last season.
His arrival at Villa Park will take the goal burden off Benteke, while Sturridge could be the main man at Anfield with 23-goal Suarez’s future far from certain, and is taken to better the big Belgian this time around.