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?
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

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea