Ahead of Liverpool’s FA Cup fifth-round clash with Arsenal on Sunday, Brendan Rodgers has been praising Daniel Sturridge’s red-hot goalscoring form for the Reds of late.
According to James Pearce of the Liverpool Echo, Rodgers has said that Sturridge’s “best is yet to come,” while also ranking Sturridge’s finishing ability as on a par with fellow Liverpool striker Luis Suarez as the best in the league.
Having scored in eight consecutive games for Liverpool, Sturridge’s finishing has been a joy to behold this season, but how exactly does he rank alongside the Premier League’s best?
Here are our 10 best strikers in the Premier League, featuring Daniel Sturridge. Enjoy and make your picks in the comments below.
10. Loic Remy
With 11 goals and two assists in 21 league games for Newcastle United so far this season, it’s safe to say that Loic Remy has enjoyed a fine campaign on loan from Queens Park Rangers.
It wasn’t so long that he himself was linked with Newcastle—January 2013, in fact—but he opted to join Harry Redknapp’s ultimately failed attempt to save QPR from relegation.
Newcastle haven’t exactly been active in the transfer market in recent windows, but Remy will go down as one of their finest strikers in recent history.
9. Romelu Lukaku
Sometimes a striker’s importance isn’t fully appreciated until he becomes injured.
Sure, Steven Naismith has put in hard-working shift after hard-working shift for Roberto Martinez in recent weeks—and he’s even scored a few—but now we’re beginning to see how sorely Everton miss Romelu Lukaku.
He’s followed up his breakout season with West Bromwich Albion last year with nine goals and five assists in 2013/14, spearheading the Blues’ charge for the top four.
Martinez will be anxiously looking forward to the day he has Lukaku back in first-team contention.
8. Olivier Giroud
He may have gone slightly off the boil lately—much like Arsenal as a whole—but 10 goals and six assists in 24 league games have been a more-than-decent return for Olivier Giroud.
As Mesut Ozil and Giroud come in for increasing criticism in recent weeks, one thing to note is that Giroud’s style of play—to hold the ball up and bring others into the attack—isn’t exactly the same brand of physical, direct and explosive play that Cristiano Ronaldo provided as an outlet for Ozil’s passes.
Still, Giroud’s excellent team play, work ethic and all-roundedness—not to mention a silky-smooth first touch—make him one of the finest Premier League strikers around, if not entirely the best fit for the Gunners.
7. Emmanuel Adebayor
Emmanuel Adebayor’s moody tendencies are often played up by the media, but when he’s on form, he offers attributes that few other strikers in the league do.
His pace, strength on the ball and clinical finishing have yielded eight goals in his last 10 Premier League games since Tim Sherwood took over from Andre Villas-Boas, helping to propel Tottenham Hotspur up the table and keep them in contention for a Champions League spot.
6. Alvaro Negredo
When it comes to Manchester City and strikers, Sergio Aguero will always dominate the discussions, but his strike partner Alvaro Negredo deserves more than a mention as well.
Powerful and quick, with a strong finish and a good eye for a pass, Negredo embodies the perfect Premier League target-man striker. And with nine goals and three assists so far, he has become Manuel Pellegrini’s first-choice strike partner for Aguero.
With a full league campaign under his belt—and hopefully a fully-fit Aguero by his side—Negredo’s best Premier League years in a Manchester City shirt could well be ahead of him.
5. Wayne Rooney
It’s easy to see why Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie frequently feature in the debate about the Premier League’s top strike partnerships: After all, they provide two different skillsets and are perfect complements for each other.
And even with his move to a more withdrawn, deep-lying forward position—at times to central midfield as well—it’s not as if Rooney’s ability to contribute to Manchester United’s attacks has waned.
Nine goals and nine assists in 21 games represent an impressive return, especially in a Red Devils side struggling to really take off under David Moyes.
4. Robin van Persie
And it’s exactly because of Manchester United’s inconsistent form this season that Robin van Persie is only in fourth place on this list.
Last year, he would probably have edged Luis Suarez in a similar list—and indeed, van Persie did finish ahead of Suarez for the Premier League Golden Boot.
What van Persie currently lacks in team form, he more than makes up with his clinical finishing and breathtaking technique. He’s scored 10 goals and notched two assists in just 15 league games this season.
3. Daniel Sturridge
Our cover hero Daniel Sturridge comes in at third place on our list here, behind the two main picks for the Premier League’s best striker.
Put simply, Sturridge has enjoyed a phenomenal campaign by any Premier League standards: 16 goals and four assists in just 18 games, including seven in his last seven league appearances.
Since moving to Liverpool, Sturridge has matured and taken his game to the next level, becoming one of the league’s deadliest finishers. Scarily for the Premier League, at 24 years of age, his best is yet to come.
2. Sergio Aguero
Fifteen goals and five assists in just 17 games: One can only imagine what Sergio Aguero’s Premier League haul this season would be had he remained fit for the entire campaign.
Nonetheless, Aguero’s enjoyed a renaissance under Pellegrini’s tutelage. Once again he looks the complete striker he seemed to have become in Manchester City’s title-winning 2011/2012 campaign, before his form dipped amid injuries.
As a striker, Aguero has it all: searing pace, rapid acceleration, incredible strength and deadly finishing. But still, he’ll need to rid himself of injuries before he can claim to be the Premier League’s best striker.
1. Luis Suarez
That title deservedly goes to Liverpool’s Luis Suarez, who set a record of most goals ever scored in a Premier League month with 10 in December, and currently has 23 goals and eight assists this season—despite missing the first five games due to suspension.
A profligate finisher when he first arrived at Anfield, Suarez has improved massively every year and has become one of the best forwards in all of world football, never mind the Premier League.
He’s added the direct free-kick to his arsenal of abilities, while his relentless off-the-ball work and pressing mean he offers so much more to Liverpool than just his goals and assists.
This article first appeared on Bleacher Report, where I contribute regularly on Liverpool and the Premier League.