Sturridge can be a top European forward, insists Liverpool boss Rodgers

The 23-year-old bagged a hat-trick as the Reds coasted to a 3-1 win over Fulham and his boss says he can become one of the continent’s best

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers believes Daniel Sturridge can fulfill his potential and become a top European striker.

The former Chelsea and Manchester City forward has spearheaded the Reds’ attack while Luis Suarez has been missing through suspension and has been prolific in the Uruguayan’s absence.

His hat-trick at Craven Cottage on Sunday saw his manager shower him with praise, suggesting the England international can go on to become one of the best marksmen on the continent.

“I’ve been mightily impressed by Daniel Sturridge. He is a young player who has got all the attributes to be a top European forward,” he told reporters after Liverpool’s 3-1 win over Fulham.The Reds could have scored plenty more but were wasteful with their finishing, though Rodgers emphasised the importance of focusing on the positives of his side’s performance and has backed his team to challenge for the Champions League spots next season.

“We were very exciting. Going forward we were really creative. We scored three and could have had more. It was a terrific second half performance,” he continued.

“I think we can have an exciting season next year. We can build. We need more depth in the summer. We will be looking for a real sustainable challenge for the top four.”

Meanwhile, a downbeat Martin Jol refused to blame a lack of effort for his side’s recent run of poor form, a run which has seen them lose six of their last seven games.

“We were very happy to be on 40 points but we haven’t been able to get a result since to be on 46 or 47,” the Dutchman told reporters.

“If you look at the effort we’ve put in against Chelsea, Arsenal and even today, there’s nothing wrong with the effort or application or mentality, but when we’ve needed to change the game to score, we’ve looked a bit vulnerable.”

The Cottagers’ boss believes Fulham have a lot of work to do in the summer to ensure they don’t tail off again, and feels the the club could need as many as six new players ahead of next season.

“We need four, five or six players but that’s normal at any club,” he stated. “We need to strengthen.”

“Our home form was always good last year. Last year we could score out of nothing; we had Clint Dempsey to score winners. With Dimitar Berbatov, we gained somebody who could score goals but we lost things in other areas.”

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