Prior to his introduction at half-time, Liverpool had endured a dismal time in which they showed none of the fight or quality required in a game against their arch-rivals, as United eased into a 2-0 lead through Robin van Persie and Nemanja Vidic.
But Sturridge's goal, following in a Steven Gerrard shot which David de Gea could only parry, lifted the side and also displayed a predatory instinct the Reds have been lacking for 18 months.
"I just think this is a boy who can be a real top striker in this country and I think he will be scoring many goals for Liverpool," said Rodgers.
"You have seen from a half appearance yesterday and 55 minutes last weekend this boy is a goalscorer and what he needed was an opportunity.
"He got one goal (against United) and was unlucky with a couple of opportunities. He is going to be a terrific signing for us."
Rodgers insists he does not regret not starting with the striker, whose two appearances for the Merseysiders (totalling 100 minutes) were his first since November 17.
"I have been assessing him in training and he is coming back," he added. "If I thought he could have lasted the game I would have put him in. Sometimes you can rush them back too quickly and break them and I didn't want to do that. He is certainly getting there with his work-rate.
"We had won seven out of our last seven so the team and some of the players had been doing well and it is just the feeling you get. I felt at the start we needed to make sure we stayed solid and tight while still creating chances and once the game opened up a bit Daniel could come on and affect the game with his pace and power."