With Liverpool travelling to Old Trafford this weekend to face Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson has been trying to goad the Merseyside Reds as usual ahead of the match. The Scotsman has claimed that “Brendan Rodgers is taking a bit of a gamble” by signing Daniel Sturridge, as he had moved between several clubs already in his relatively short career.
I argued in the summer that signing Robin van Persie would be a gamble, as he only averaged 9.4 league goals per season, and had a poor fitness record, prior to 2011/12.
Luckily for Ferguson, the Dutch striker has delivered (both on a fitness and goals level) so far. But as he is in the prime stage of his career, whilst Sturridge is still only 23, I thought it would be interesting to compare their records ahead of the big match, as the two are the latest striking additions for the Lancastrian rivals.
In view of the fact that van Persie takes penalties far more regularly than Sturridge, I have compiled figures both with and without spot kicks to keep the comparison fairer.
Here are the figures for their Premier League careers:
To try to give these figures some context, if both players played every minute of a Premier League season, and maintained their goalscoring rate (excluding penalties), then Sturridge would score nineteen goals to van Persie’s twenty-three. Not much in it, considering their age difference and the fact that the former Arsenal man cost approximately twice as much as the Reds’ new boy did.
Whilst we can’t say at this point if Sturridge will become as prolific as van Persie as he gets older, I thought it would be fascinating to compare their scoring output at similar stages of their careers.
In his first four seasons with Arsenal, Van the man played roughly the same amount of minutes as Dan has in total in the Premier League, so it makes for a reasonable comparison:
Not a great difference between them, and Sturridge is actually the more prolific when excluding spot-kicks. Robin van Persie drops down to eighteen goals per entire season, giving Liverpool’s new signing a slight edge.
This is not to suggest that Ferguson has taken too much of a gamble with van Persie, but I don’t think Rodgers has with Sturridge either. Let’s see who comes out on top on Sunday.
Related articles you might like:
Daniel’s Decent Debut – A review of Sturridge’s scoring debut at Mansfield in the FA Cup.
Daniel Sturridge: In Numbers – The lowdown on Liverpool’s new signing in January 2013.
Robin van Persie: 2011/12 Distorts The Picture – A rare non-Liverpool column, looking at how RvP’s stats were distinctly average prior to this season.