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Ahead of England's all-important clash with Uruguay, has Daniel Sturridge surpassed Thursday's opponent Edinson Cavani as one of Europe's premier centre-forwards? Both Sturridge and Cavani scored in their opening World Cup clashes, but who is the superior talent?
Sturridge has had an exceptional time since joining Liverpool in January 2013, scoring almost a goal a game for the Merseyside club, an unbelievable return for a striker cast aside by Chelsea for only £12 million.
His immense form almost propelled Liverpool to an unexpected league title, and he certainly deserves almost as many plaudits for his performances this season as strike partner Suarez.
A fit-again Suarez will almost certainly line-up alongside Cavani, who signed for PSG for a reported £55 million last summer. PSG won Ligue 1 for the second season running, with the Uruguayan providing 16 goals in the league. Whilst this compares unfavourably with his return of 29 goals in his last season for Napoli, it is still a decent tally for any striker, never mind one who often found himself forced to play wide on the right.
Cavani definitely did not blossom in this wide role, which required creativity as well as goalscoring prowess.
Compared to Sturridge, who, it cannot be forgotten, primarily played through the middle, Cavani provided little for his PSG team-mates. If the modern striker is expected to be more than a simple goal threat, Cavani's stats compare unfavourably. He had only two assists to his name over the course of the season compared to seven for Sturridge.
However, the blame may fall on the rest of the PSG side. Cavani actually created 23 chances over the course of the season, only six fewer than Sturridge, but clearly far fewer of these were converted.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the man most used in the centre by PSG, hit the target with 58% of his shots. Maybe it is possible that the chances that Cavani created were simply not as convertible as the ones Sturridge provided.
They also operated at about the same level in terms of shot accuracy, with Sturridge only just edging Cavani. Sturridge hit 49% of his shots on target with Cavani managing 45%. The England man may have outperformed his opponent here, but not by a significant enough margin to suggest whether or not one is a more effective poacher than the other.
Ultimately, given the relative position of the two at the time Sturridge moved to Liverpool, it has to be said that the former Chelsea man has overtaken Cavani in terms of their positions in the world striking order. Sturridge scored more, created more and was slightly more clinical when given an opportunity in front of goal.
- Sports & Recreation
- Daniel Sturridge
- Edinson Cavani