LONDON – Daniel Sturridge has had little to celebrate over several injury blighted seasons at Liverpool, but with one deft swipe of his left boot on Saturday he rescued a last-gasp point at Chelsea and reminded his manager of his rare finishing prowess.
Liverpool had been the better side for great swathes of the Premier League encounter at Stamford Bridge, but a combination of poor finishing and resilient Chelsea defending meant they entered the dying minutes trailing 1-0 to Eden Hazard's superb finish.
Liverpool's front three, who terrorised defences last season, had looked uncharacteristically out of sorts before Sturridge was introduced as an 86th-minute substitute.
It took him a matter of moments to make his mark, receiving the ball on the left, 25 metres from goal before turning and nonchalantly curling a superb effort out of the keeper's reach into the top corner to secure a 1-1 draw and deflate his former club.
“He is a fantastic football player and he had a good pre-season, and he is in the best shape since I know him,” Klopp told reporters.
Saturday's strike was Sturridge's fourth goal in seven appearances across all competitions this season, with the majority coming off the bench.
The 29-year-old's razor sharp finish rescued Liverpool after their established front three, Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane, were unusually profligate in front of goal.
“That's how life is. A good team creates chances,“ Klopp said. “Coming in these situations in the box is really not simple yet we still did it six or seven times.”