Daniel Sturridge reaps rewards for Liverpool thanks to extended run

England striker has qualities of a Brazilian, according to manager Brendan Rodgers

We are used to hearing regular laments about our homegrown footballers and their supposed lack of technique yet the manner of Daniel Sturridge’s winning strike for Liverpool against Aston Villa suggested that there is one English forward whose technical ability is up there with the best of them.

According to his Liverpool manager, Brendan Rodgers, Sturridge has the qualities of a Brazilian and the potential to become a “massive asset” for his country as well as his club, and the evidence of his goal at Villa Park was certainly compelling.

On an afternoon where Liverpool had only two attempts on target, Sturridge made the difference, showing superb footwork to drag the ball past Antonio Luna and round goalkeeper Brad Guzan before netting his second match-winner of the season, and 15th goal in 20 Liverpool appearances since his January arrival from Chelsea.

“You’d look at him and people would think he’d maybe be a Brazilian striker with his body physique and his pace and power,” said Rodgers. “England are fortunate to have him because he’s a big, big talent. But he knows he needs to be consistent, he needs to get himself the games and the goals. I have got no doubt that he will be a massive asset for England.

“It’s still very early, but there is absolutely no question he’s potentially the top English striker. He’s got all the tools.”

Sturridge has six England caps and one goal, but only one start to his name – against the Republic of Ireland in May – yet what he has right now is something so far denied him in his career: the opportunity to play an important role, week in, week out. Saturday was his ninth straight league start for Liverpool – the best sequence of his career, which is hardly ideal when you consider that he turns 24 next Sunday when Liverpool host Manchester United.

“He’s always had the ability but it’s [been] very difficult,” Rodgers added. “He was at a great club at Manchester City and probably when he was about to get his chance, having come through the system there, all the money came into the club. He made the move to Chelsea thinking maybe he was going to get more opportunities but had Didier Drogba and [other] senior players in front of him, so he never really got the chance. When he did play it was probably more in a wide area.”

An analysis of Sturridge’s career shows that when given starts, he will score goals. After leaving Manchester City for Chelsea aged 19 he made just two league starts in his first two campaigns. Yet in the second of those seasons, he hit eight goals in 11 starts on loan at Bolton. Given more of a chance at Chelsea in 2011/12 he responded with 11 goals in 28 league starts. At Anfield, the goals have flowed – 12 in 13 league starts.

Rodgers believes Sturridge’s attitude is no problem either; he admires his “lovely footballing arrogance” and suggests here is a player who simply needed a “platform”. He said: “He’s not used to playing. But we just said to him, ‘You need to throw the dice, get out on the training field every day, work your socks off and everything else will take care of itself.’ He’s thrived on the confidence of his team-mates and the people around the club.”

Happily for Rodgers, he is not the only one thriving as at the other end of the pitch, goalkeeper Simon Mignolet is fast justifying the manager’s decision to offload Pepe Reina this summer. The Belgian’s excellent late, left-hand save from Christian Benteke denied Villa reward for a spirited second-half display and followed on from his 89th-minute penalty stop against Stoke on the opening weekend.

“A good keeper will save you up to 10 points a season [so] he’s up four points already in the first two games,” said Rodgers.

Sport
Thiago Silva pulls Arjen Robben back to concede a penalty
world cup 2014Brazil 0 Netherlands 3: More misery for hosts as Dutch take third place
Sport
Robin van Persie hands his third-place medal to a supporter
Van Persie gives bronze medal to eccentric fan moments after being handed it by Blatter
News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
scienceScientists have developed a material so dark you can't see it...
News
Monkey business: Serkis is the king of the non-human character performance
peopleFirst Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Arts and Entertainment
Blackman: Landscape of children’s literature does not reflect the cultural diversity of young people
booksMalorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Voices
Mrs Brown's Boy: D'Movie has been a huge commercial success
voicesWhen it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Life and Style
Once a month, waistline watcher Suran steps into a 3D body scanner that maps his body shape and records measurements with pinpoint accuracy
techFrom heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
News
Soft power: Matthew Barzun
peopleThe US Ambassador to London, Matthew Barzun, holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence. He says it's all part of the job
Sport
Joe Root and James Anderson celebrate their record-beaking partnership
cricketEngland's last-wicket stand against India rewrites the history books
News
Gavin Maxwell in Sandaig with one of his pet otters
peopleWas the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?
News
Rowsell says: 'Wearing wigs is a way of looking normal. I pick a style and colour and stick to it because I don't want to keep wearing different styles'
peopleThe World Champion cyclist Joanna Rowsell on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?