• Striker has 11 goals in 15 games for Merseyside club
• ‘God showed me how I need to be strong mentally’
Daniel Sturridge finally seems to have found contentment at Anfield. The striker took his Liverpool tally to 11 goals in 15 matches on Sunday with a clinical hat-trick in the Merseysiders’ 3-1 win at Fulham.
Sturridge’s talent has never been in doubt, but questions have persisted throughout his career about his temperament and discipline. The 23-year-old’s attitude came into question during his days in Manchester City youth ranks while his repeated desire to play through the middle is said to have irked a number of his managers at Chelsea.
However, Brendan Rodgers, the Liverpool manager, has been supportive of Sturridge since his January move from Chelsea and the striker himself seems more happy.
“I’m relaxed, I’m enjoying my football and I’m enjoying being out on the field,” he said. “When the manager believes in you and gives you an opportunity, you have to go out there and work as hard as you can. If you can do that then, hopefully, your ability will shine through.
“I’ve kept praying every game – which I always do. God showed me how I need to be strong mentally. Being strong mentally is the one thing that can separate you from anyone else. When I worked with Didier Drogba at Chelsea, the one strength he had above everybody was his mental strength. I learned a lot from working with him about what it takes to be a top player. Hopefully I’ll become one.”
Sturridge was barracked from the terraces at Craven Cottage on Sunday due to his former employment with Fulham’s neighbours Chelsea. But rather than be annoyed by the jeers, he revealed afterwards that he enjoys being booed.
“I love that. I hope the fans do it every game,” he said. “It doesn’t really matter what they say to me. I love the banter, it’s what I live for. So hopefully they’ll keep giving me stick.”
Along with Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho has also impressed since joining Liverpool in January. The Brazilian, who arrived from Internazionale, has shone in a role just behind the main attacker and appears to have developed an excellent relationship with Sturridge in particular.
“He’s a quality player,” said the striker. “He has created four or five goals for me already. It’s fantastic to be playing with someone of his calibre.
“We have both come from big clubs where we haven’t had an opportunity to play week in week out. We are both hungry to show what we are capable of doing. I can’t praise him highly enough for what he’s shown.”
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