Rodgers: Sturridge in last-chance saloon
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has told new signing Daniel Sturridge his £12m move to Anfield represents his last chance to succeed at a big club.
The 23-year-old completed a long-term deal with the Reds yesterday and was in the stands to watch his new side comfortably beat Sunderland 3-0.
Having left Manchester City in the summer of 2009 with six goals in 32 senior appearances – the majority as substitute – he found life equally tough at Chelsea.
In 96 games for the Stamford Bridge club he hit 24 goals, although he still made only 31 Premier League starts in three and a half years.
His best spell was in a five-month loan period at Bolton, while they were still in the top flight, when he scored eight goals in 12 matches.
Rodgers hopes the England international can reproduce that form over a much longer period with Liverpool.
“He is a player that I’ve know since he was about 12 years of age,” said the Reds boss.
“He made his name as a youngster at Manchester City when he was one of the top young strikers in European football.
“You make a move as a young player and it is always going to be difficult because what he is is a goalscorer and the only spell he’s had that was at Bolton.
“When he has played games he has scored goals. He gives us that power, presence and mobility at the top end of the field and the biggest thing is hunger.
“We are bringing in a player who knows he has to perform if he wants to be at one of the biggest clubs in the world and this is probably his last chance.
“I have every faith that over his time here he will prove a real hit and it gives us another attacking threat at the top end of the field.
“Daniel will learn off the top players who are here.”
As Sturridge was arriving midfielder Joe Cole was holding talks with West Ham over a permanent move after Liverpool agreed to pay off his £100,000-a-week contract to get him off the wage bill.
“I’m not sure a deal has been totally agreed,” Rodgers said.
“I spoke to him a couple of times (yesterday) and he was talking with West Ham.
“I don’t know the total ins and outs of that (Cole’s pay-off).”
Raheem Sterling’s second Premier League goal put Liverpool ahead last night and Luis Suarez then scored either side of half-time to put the game beyond the Black Cats.
Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill felt his side paid for missing two good first-half opportunities from James McClean and Matt Kilgallon.
“I think when we had a couple of chances in the first half we really had to take one of those as it would given us a foothold,” he said.
“We have given away two poor goals but in the end we were well beaten and Liverpool deserved to win.
“The third goal just after half-time put us really on the back foot and then Liverpool were very confident after that.”