Wednesday 26 October 2016

Rodgers puts his derby faith in Sturridge

(l-r) Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers will look to Daniel Sturridge to open up the Everton defence tomorrow.
(l-r) Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers will look to Daniel Sturridge to open up the Everton defence tomorrow.

Brendan Rodgers believes the return of Daniel Sturridge can fire Liverpool to derby glory at Goodison Park tomorrow.

The England striker was rested for Thursday's dour 1-1 draw with FC Sion in the Europa League but he will lead the line against Everton.

Sturridge, who netted twice in the win over Aston Villa last weekend on just his second start after five months out, has an impressive derby record having scored three in four appearances against the Blues.

"Daniel is fresh and fit and ready for the weekend," Rodgers said.

"You saw Daniel's quality against Villa. He's important for us. We've missed him over a long period of time.

"Top players give a team confidence and him coming back for the weekend is a massive boost for us. He has that star quality.

"He's a natural finisher. He wants to get goals and he creates space and possibilities for others.

"When he's in the team he's a real threat for the opponent."

Sturridge, Mamadou Sakho, Martin Skrtel, Alberto Moreno, James Milner, Lucas Leiva and Philippe Coutinho are all set to return to the starting line up after being rested in Europe.

Rodgers admits a derby triumph would be the perfect fillip for the Reds after the turmoil of recent weeks. The Reds boss has yet to taste victory at Goodison having overseen 2-2, 3-3 and 0-0 draws.

"These are fantastic games," Rodgers said.

"It's my fourth season here going to Goodison Park. We've played well there and been unfortunate not to come away with victories. We've never lost there and hopefully that continues.

"Every win gives you confidence, but of course in this type of game it can be an extra bonus, especially away from home. We know we have the game to get goals there and win the game, but we also respect it will be tough. It's a game we want to win for us and for our supporters.

"At the start of the season we had a couple of wins but we weren't creating too many chances. Now it's starting to evolve and we're creating clear cut opportunities.

"Whether home or away now, we're back into that flow of creating chances and now we need to take them."

Sturridge is expected to line up alongside Danny Ings with Christian Benteke unlikely to be risked due to an ongoing hamstring problem.

"We've got one or two knocks from last night. We'll see how Christian is over the course of the next 24 hours but the squad will be pretty much the same as the Aston Villa game," Rodgers added.

It will be the first time since the 1986 FA Cup final that Liverpool have faced Everton without a Scouser in their starting line-up.

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