Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge says 'I love the banter' after infuriating Fulham fans with his goal celebrations

The England striker scored a hat-trick at Craven Cottage

Daniel Sturridge finally seems to have found contentment at Liverpool.

Sturridge took his Liverpool tally to 11 goals in 15 matches yesterday with a clinical hat-trick in the Reds' 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 in to question during his days in the 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.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has not had a bad word to say about Sturridge since his January move from Chelsea, though, and the striker himself seems more than happy with life at Anfield.

"I'm relaxed, I'm enjoying my football and I'm enjoying being out on the football field," Sturridge told Liverpool's website.

"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."

Sturridge took down Andre Wisdom's long pass and turned Aaron Hughes to equalise Dimitar Berbatov's opener and he then put Liverpool ahead with an opportunistic finish following Philippe Coutinho's deflected pass.

The England hitman then latched on to a brilliant ball from the former Inter Milan midfielder before lifting the ball over Mark Schwarzer to seal the victory.

Sturridge has thrived under the responsibility of playing down the middle in the last three games during Luis Suarez's absence, scoring five goals.

"The manager has put me in a position where I'm able to show what I can do," he said.

"I'd like to thank my team-mates, the manager, God and my family. My team-mates have made my job easy to settle with them. I've kept praying every game - which I always do.

"I want to say thank you to all four. Hopefully I'll have a long career ahead of me at Liverpool.

"My family keep me grounded and make sure that I am not going off the rails."

Sturridge was barracked from the terraces at Craven Cottage yesterday due to his former employment with Fulham's neighbours Chelsea.

Rather than be annoyed by the jeers, Sturridge revealed afterwards that he actually enjoys being booed as it spurs him on perform better.

"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!"

Liverpool will give continued hope to their fans that they can mount a serious top-four challenge next weekend if they stretch their unbeaten run to eight matches against QPR.

Fulham, on the other hand, are ending the season with a whimper. Martin Jol's men reached the 40-point mark four weeks ago, but they have since lost their last five matches.

The Cottagers look set to record their worst Barclays Premier League finishing position since 2008, but defender Hughes hopes the team can salvage some pride with a fourth away win of the season at Swansea next Sunday.

"It would be nice to go out on a high at Swansea," he said.

"We wanted to get a win against Liverpool because it was our last home game.

"Unfortunately that hasn't happened so now we have to try and get something from our last game and just finish the season on a little bit of a high."

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Two christmas trees ,Moonbeam (2L), Moonchester (2R) and Santa Claus outside the Etihad Stadium
footballAll the action from today's games
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drink
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas