Premier League pundit Richard Keys has revealed a behind the scenes story about Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge and his mental approach to the game.
The Reds’ talismanic forward has been the subject of much debate of late, with his recurring injuries having frustrated fans of the club and his manager Jurgen Klopp – whose comments last week hinted that he has major questions about the England international.
Sturridge has missed over half of the games Liverpool have played since his 2013 arrival from Chelsea with a succession of injuries, but remains the best goals-per-game player to have made over 50 appearances for the club, ahead of the likes of Luis Suarez, Ian Rush and Kenny Dalglish.
However, his willingness to put himself on the line has been questioned, and Keys, writing on his personal website, has claimed that Sturridge reacted negatively to being asked to be the club’s main man by Brendan Rodgers following the exit of Luis Suarez in 2014:
“When Suarez left Liverpool Rodgers invited Sturridge to be his new talisman. He offered him the iconic No. 9 jersey and told him to ‘lead from the front’.
“Sturridge turned him down. I’m told he ‘didn’t want the pressure’.
“I believe that Rodgers lost patience with him, during the conversation in his office, right there and then. I would’ve done too.”
Sturridge made his first start under Klopp during Liverpool’s 6-1 League Cup demolition of Southampton at St Mary’s, scoring twice.