Liverpool’s new signing Daniel Sturridge made his debut as the Reds triumphed 2-1 over non-league Mansfield Town in the third round of the FA Cup today.
In doing so, he became the eleventh different player to make their debut for the club this season, but more importantly, after just seven minutes he became the second player to score on their debut during this campaign, and only the thirteenth in the last twenty years.
Andre Wisdom scored away at Young Boys, and Sturridge followed him in to the debut scorers record book with a crisp finish following a wonderful through ball from Jonjo Shelvey, in the seventh minute.
By netting so early, the new signing scored the fastest debut goal by a Liverpool starter since Bob Glassey scored against Preston after five minutes in December 1935! Sturridge is also the first player to score on their debut for Liverpool in the FA Cup since the great Billy Liddell did so against Chester in 1946.
His goal also means that sixteen different players have scored for the Reds this season in all competitions. The club record is eighteen, so with the likes of Suso, Allen and Lucas yet to score, this record could yet go during the remainder of the campaign.
I wrote earlier in the week how Sturridge has impressive shooting accuracy stats, and he maintained that against the Stags, with three of his four attempts being on target. However, with this being his first appearance for anyone since 17th November, it was understandable that he didn’t last the full match, and Suárez came on to replace him in the 55th minute.
Four minutes later, the controversy that dogs the Uruguayan striker reared it’s head, as he handled the ball in the process of giving Liverpool a 2-0 lead. In view of the fact that Suárez has had more debatable decisions go against him than most Premier League teams this season, I guess this can be marked down as a case of ‘swings and roundabouts’.
The match wasn’t over, and as the shot diagrams below show, Mansfield had far more chances in the second half. Here’s the first half shots (with Liverpool in red and Mansfield in yellow):
The second half:
Though Mansfield did score once, the Reds saw the match out and progress to the fourth round where they will face Oldham. Liverpool were far from great, but they got the job done on a difficult pitch without risking the majority of their first team, and with Sturridge getting off the mark, it can certainly be chalked up as a decent day at the office.