Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Gerrard tips Sturridge to shine

Steven Gerrard, right, believes Daniel Sturridge, left, can be one of the stars of the World Cup

Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge's form this season leaves captain Steven Gerrard in no doubt he can be a star of this summer's World Cup.

The 24-year-old forward is second only to Reds team-mate Luis Suarez in the race for the Golden Boot, having scored 18 Barclays Premier League goals - including 10 in his last nine appearances.

That contribution has helped fire Liverpool not only into top-four contention but in with a chance of catching Chelsea, seven points ahead having played one match more, in the race for the title.

And Gerrard believes the striker can have the same impact in Brazil this summer.

"Daniel's got the world at his feet and he can be whatever he wants to be if he keeps working hard," Gerrard told thefa.com.

"His form has been scintillating this season and, to see him close up in training, I see what qualities he's got.

"Everyone will be looking for Suarez, (Cristiano) Ronaldo, the usual suspects, to stand up and be the star of the tournament, but Daniel is certainly capable to go and star at this World Cup."

England open their campaign in Brazil against Italy, but the clash which many are looking forward to is against Uruguay, which will pit Suarez against many of his Liverpool team-mates.

And, although Gerrard may have played a significant role in persuading the South American to stay at Anfield during a summer of turmoil, their friendship will be put on hold when they meet in Sao Paulo on June 19.

"I'd rather play on the same team as him, of course I would. He's a world-class player who can give problems to any opposition he comes up against.

"I know him well, I know his strengths and I know the very few weaknesses that he has but I'm looking forward to competing against him.

"When you play with players domestically they're your team-mates, you protect them and you do everything you can to win together.

"We both know that when the whistle goes against Uruguay the friendship goes out of the window for 90 minutes and we both fight for our countries but I can't speak highly enough of Luis as a player, he's up there, for me, in the top five players in the world."

Liverpool face Manchester United on Sunday looking for their first win at Old Trafford since 2009 and Suarez will be looking to improve on his record of just one goal in six appearances in all competitions against their north-west rivals.

The striker ended a run of five matches without a goal with one in the 3-0 victory at Southampton on March 1 but he insists as long as the side wins he is satisfied.

"When I was a child I never liked to lose. I worked very hard in my life to get to this level and I can't miss one ball because I love football," he told LFCTV GO.

"Sometimes (on the pitch) it is 100 per cent the little boy from the street and sometimes it is another person because you try the best and you change in your head - it depends on the moment.

"But if Liverpool win the game that is important, it is more important then myself. If I score and we win it is unbelievable."

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