Rodgers has faith in Sturridge
Published 26/04/2013 | 16:46
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes Daniel Sturridge has the potential to be one of Europe's top strikers and is more than capable of filling the void left by Luis Suarez's lengthy ban.
With the Uruguay international likely to be suspended until late September at the earliest after deciding not to appeal his 10-match suspension for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic last weekend, there is a huge hole up front. Suarez has scored 30 goals this campaign, 23 in the Premier League, and that will take some replacing during the early stages of next season.
Sturridge has scored six in 12 appearances since arriving from Chelsea and gave an indication of the influence he can have on a match last weekend when he came off the bench for the second half against his former club, scoring and providing the assist for Suarez's added-time equaliser. "He was outstanding when he came on," said Rodgers.
"In the first half of the game we were too slow in our play, our movements weren't as dynamic as what they've been in a lot of games.
"The intensity wasn't quite what it normally would have been but in the second half when he came on he gave us a real threat - his pace and power were outstanding.
"He scored a goal, which was a great finish, and could have had two or three more.
"He's fitted into the football club really well. He missed a bit of training last week but if we can keep him fit and keep him out on the training field, he's got the potential to be a top European striker. That's hopefully something he can fulfil here at the club."
Sturridge has found himself on the bench in the recent weeks, having begun his Liverpool career with goals in his first three matches, but Rodgers is confident he can lead the line without the club's star player alongside him.
"He's only been here a short time but in the times he has trained and then gone out and played he's shown he is one of the top strikers in the country," added the Reds boss.
"We're hoping we can maintain that training mentality. When he takes that into the games, he's a real threat for us."