Two-goal ace Dan is tipped for sparkling Anfield future
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp hailed the contribution of injury-hit Daniel Sturridge as the highlight of his side's 6-1 Capital One Cup quarter-final drubbing of Southampton at St Mary's.
Sturridge's Reds career has been heavily disrupted by injury but he shrugged off his struggles with a two-goal salvo last night.
Divock Origi, just 20 years of age, also starred with a stunning hat-trick, the other goal coming from substitute Jordan Ibe who had entered the fray for a tiring Sturridge on the hour.
Southampton had taken the lead through Sadio Mane in the opening minute of the game.
Klopp, who replaced Ulsterman Brendan Rodgers in the Anfield hotseat in October, said: "This isn't the first time we've talked about this (Daniel Sturridge's fitness).
"We try to do what we can to keep him fit.
"Sometimes it can be bad luck, even for a long period, but he felt good during the game and at the end of it.
"He doesn't have to play in all the games, but if we can decide when is the right moment to fight, and when is the right moment for recovery, everything should be okay."
Klopp feels his side have what it takes to be successful.
"We do not have magic ideas. It's about working hard," the German said.
"You cannot be in Liverpool because of the weather, so it must be because of the football club.
"We need luck with injuries but the squad is strong enough for us to be challengers.
"At the moment, we don't have to be any more than that.
"If you shoot the ball between the posts, it's better than when you don't do it," said Klopp, whose side go to Newcastle on Sunday.
"It was a good game - a bad start - but it's not too often when you can enjoy moments in the last five minutes.
"It was a new system, the diamond with two strikers, and after 10 minutes it worked."
Origi was thrilled to repay his manager's faith with a treble.
He said: "The coach gave me confidence and I rewarded him with a hat-trick. We had a bad start but we showed a great mentality as a team. We fight very hard, we press high and we have quality everywhere. We scored ourselves some nice goals."
Southampton fell well short of their usual standards.
Saints boss Ronald Koeman said: "That is not the result we expect. A great start but if you make the mistakes defensively we did in the first half and the top quality of Liverpool, then you can lose.
"The second half is my responsibility. I changed the system, I made the risk of three at the back.
"You see how easily they play, that is not good. They have a great energy and they have qualities.
"If you give a man like Daniel Sturridge that space he will kill you."