Rodgers' praise for 'natural goalscorer' Sturridge

Wednesday 18 Feb 2015
Sturridge unleashes his dance celebration at Selhurst Park

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has heaped praise on Daniel Sturridge and says since his return from injury the striker has proved he's a "natural goalscorer".

Sturridge was back in action at the end of January after being sidelined since early September.

In his first game of the year, against West Ham at Anfield, he arrived from the bench and took just 12 minutes to find the back of the net to seal a 2-0 win.

Daniel Sturridge fires home against Crystal Palace

Daniel Sturridge volleys Liverpool level at Selhurst Park

And on Saturday in the Reds' FA Cup Fifth Round clash at Crystal Palace, he popped up with a sweet volley to help the Anfield giants progress into the last eight.

Rodgers said: "His finish against Crystal Palace was an outstanding finish, with the ball coming over his shoulder.

"He's a wonderful player, he can play in a number of positions. He threatens in behind with his wonderful footballing ability to hold the ball up. 

"His movement is very good.

"And like we've seen in the period since he's come back, he's a natural goalscorer.

Highlights: Palace 1-2 Liverpool

"He wants to score goals and so he'll always be looking to arrive in the areas, no matter what position he plays in."

Sturridge's comeback has bolstered an in-form Liverpool team looking to continue the recent run that has seen them lose just once in their last 16 outings.

The Reds take on Turkish outfit Besiktas on Thursday night as they aim to collect silverware via two avenues – The FA Cup and Europa League.

And Rodgers believes 25-year-old Sturridge is showing the potential to become one of Liverpool's leaders and is demonstrating his organisation qualities on the pitch.

"He obviously had a tough period when he was out," Rodgers said. "When you're that talented and you've got so much ability, to be out for that length of time is obviously very difficult.


Sturridge celebrates his goal against West Ham

"He's been able to go away and reflect on elements of his game. He hasn't just been recovering in terms of his injury, he's been analysing his game."

He added: "What's been brilliant for me is he's come back and taken on a real leadership role as well.

"He's going back and I can see him organising at corners and set pieces and making sure that people are doing their job, as well as that wonderful ability that he has.

"He's a top-class talent and it's been great to see his movement and his relationship with other players in the system."

Liverpool's next step in The FA Cup is a home tie against Blackburn Rovers on Sunday 8 March, while Sturridge could also be part of the England team against Lithuania at Wembley on Friday 27 March.

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By Jamie Bradbury FA Editor