Everton 3 Liverpool 3: Brendan Rodgers plays down club-versus-country row by insisting Daniel Sturridge must learn to look after his fitness
Sturridge played all 90 minutes of England's international friendly defeat to Germany but was deemed unfit to start the Merseyside derby against Everton on the weekend
Monday 25 November 2013
Daniel Sturridge looks to be the subject of the latest club-versus-country row after Brendan Rodgers admitted he was not fit to start the Merseyside derby against Everton on Saturday – instead coming off the bench with 11 minutes to go to salvage a 3-3 draw for Liverpool with his ninth Premier League goal of the season.
Sturridge missed England’s 2-0 defeat to Chile on the first Friday of the international break after he was deemed unfit to feature, but he played the entire match of last Tuesday’s friendly against Germany despite concerns over whether he was anywhere near 100 per cent fit.
Having returned to his club, Rodgers decided that he was not in the right condition to start the weekend encounter at Goodison Park having made the decision during Friday’s training session, although the Reds’ boss has stopped short of putting the entire blame at the door of the Football Association. He instead admitted that Sturridge must be partly responsible for his actions and must learn to analyse his own fitness levels.
“I am looking at him in training on Friday and he is not right. Whose responsibility is that? It is the association, the player,” Rodgers said. “All I can do is look and assess who will give me absolutely everything when they go out on the field.
“We have a game against a massive rival away from home. I need everyone as close to 100 per cent as I possibly can. He is clearly not. A lot of players, especially the top ones, are never 100 per cent fit.
“Suarez will never have been 100 per cent in his time here. Different personalities, different types.”
Rodgers stressed the importance of having his players as close to fully fit as possible, with both Sturridge and Suarez integral to their hopes of securing a Champions League return through a top four finish.
Both have nine goals in the league this season, and they have gelled to form one of the most formidable strike-partnerships in world football – Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo are their only real rivals in the Premier League at this time.
For Rodgers, he understands the need for Sturridge to maintain his form that has seen the Reds make a good start to the season, and he feels that unlike Suarez, who can provide a moment of magic at any time, the Englishman needs to impress in training to ensure he transfers his talent into points.
“Daniel has been a match winner for us throughout his time here but I didn’t feel, because of that level of fitness, he was going to be that for us,” admitted Rodgers, after he elected to bring on Sturridge in the 79th minute which resulted in his equalising goal.
“I have seen it before. There is a trend. There are some games when he hasn’t played well and that has happened on the back of not training. With any player, you have to put yourself on the training field. If you do that, you will be in with a chance of playing.”
Latest in Sport
- 1 British tourists 'murdered' in Thailand: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
- 2 Vivienne Westwood says 'Yes' to Scottish Independence by declaring: 'I hate England'
- 3 Welcome to Cameroon, where drinking Baileys can lead to imprisonment
- 4 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 5 Vogue under fire for 'Big Booty' article
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
Salmond accused of laughing off national debt with ‘what are they going to do: invade?’ joke