Daniel Sturridge reveals Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is 'very demanding'

The Liverpool striker on Brendan Rodgers' tactical nous, partnering Luis Suarez and playing with a smile on his face

One of the more striking lines in Tim Sherwood's evisceration of his Tottenham players' commitment at Stamford Bridge last weekend was the suggestion that the players were 'too nice' to each and 'wanted to be liked'. Sherwood, one suspects, would approve of the culture at Liverpool.

Rarely does a game go by without one of their strike force, Daniel Sturridge, Luis Suarez or Raheem Sterling, turning to berate another for shooting instead of passing. It is not, however, like the 70s, when Tommy Smith and Emlyn Hughes combined effectively in central defence, but detested each other off the field. The Liverpool forwards get on well, until one of them is spurned in front of goal.

“I’m demanding. Stevie’s demanding. Everyone’s demanding,” said Sturridge. “It’s not just Luis that’s demanding of the players. The manager’s very demanding of the players. It’s important that everyone’s demanding if you want to be successful and everyone’s pushing each other to get the best out of each other. That’s what we all try to do.”

Read more: Sturridge reveals Rooney helped his career
Man United v Liverpool - match preview
Rodgers reveals 'intensity' at Liverpool
Suarez is so competitive he makes his daughter cry
Liverpool are favourites - Robbie Fowler

Manager Brendan Rodgers is perhaps the most demanding of all, even substituting Sturridge when he has appeared to be selfish in front of goal. The result is a team ethic that includes Sturridge and Suarez being prepared to play out wide for the good of the team with Rodgers increasingly playing 4-5-1 rather than 4-4-2 or 5-3-2.

“It is the manager's job,” said Sturridge. “It is his tactical nous and he gets it right. The times he has made the changes it has been perfect. Myself and Luis understand we have to do a job for the team - we both like to play centrally but a the same time we both understand the team is more important than us.

“We both do the job effortlessly, we don’t mind being out there - if we are out there, we are out there, simple as that. If I'm play central and Luis runs central I will go wide. We are just being fluid up front and it is not about someone being in a position, it is the same with Raheem, we all move about up front looking to make space for each other.

“Luis works tirelessly. I think we combine very well, he’s someone who wants to win, and I want to win, we both enjoy to score goals, both like to assist each other. I enjoy playing with him.”

With the pair scoring 42 goals between them, 18 from Sturridge, Liverpool go to Old Trafford on Sunday in the rare position of being favourites despite six successive defeats on the old enemy's turf. Since losing at Chelsea in December they have taken 23 of 27 points to move second in the table, 11 points clear of Manchester United.

Liverpool have scored 29 goals in those nine games, including 15 in the current run of four straight victories. Suddenly they are the most exciting team in the country. “I don’t think we really realise what we are achieving as a team,” said Sturridge. “To be honest with you we just go out there and we enjoy ourselves and that’s the most important thing. I think I play with a smile on my face. Luis does the same, Raheem, and the list goes on throughout the team. I wouldn’t say we’re doing anything that we’re not doing on the training field.

“We just go out there and do exactly what the manager wants us to do. We work hard as a team, and the team ethic’s the most important thing. People talk about our attacking but it’s important that we also look at the defence and how well they’ve done.”

Sturridge was talking at a Coca-Cola promotional event centred on this summer's World Cup, but inevitably Sunday's more immediate task loomed large. He marked his 24th birthday by scoring the only goal when United visited Anfield in September, a smartly-taken close-range header. Doing the double over the champions would seem to underline Liverpool's title credentials, even given United's poor season, but Sturridge is not getting carried away.

“It is a great game to play in for the players, and a great occasion for the fans, but regardless of what happens there will still be another nine games to play. We have got Chelsea and Manchester City at home, we have got Tottenham at home. We have got other big games. Of course we want to do as well as we can in every single game and get maximum points if we can, but it is important we keep playing the football we do.

“Winning at the weekend is not going to change anything in regards to the title race, we are four points behind Chelsea - and Manchester City if they win their games in hand. Those teams are the favourites for me.”

Such caution is wise. The last time in Liverpool won at Old Trafford was in March 2009 when Fernando Torres’ pace destroyed Nemanja Vidic. The Serb was dismissed as Liverpool won 4-1 to spark dreams of the title. Manchester United held on though and, in the seasons that followed, Liverpool fell away. Whatever happens in the next two months this time the Liverpool revival has a far greater air of permanency.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
News
Bobbi Kristina Brown, daughter of the late singer Whitney Houston, poses at the premiere of
people
News
people
News
The frequency with which we lie and our ability to get away with it both increase to young adulthood then decline with age, possibly because of changes that occur in the brain
scienceRoger Dobson knows the true story, from Pinocchio to Pollard
Voices
The male menopause: those affected can suffer hot flushes, night sweats, joint pain, low libido, depression and an increase in body fat, among other symptoms
voicesSo the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Life and Style
health
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
RuPaul interview: The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head

RuPaul interview

The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head