The striker missed a penalty that would have seen him complete his hat-trick and was disappointed to be substituted, but his boss and captain were delighted with his contribution
Brendan Rodgers and Steven Gerrard hailed Daniel Strurridge after the striker scored twice in the 4-0 Merseyside derby victory over Everton at Anfield.
The England man netted two goals is as many minutes to put the result beyond doubt before half-time, with Gerrard having opened the scoring with a header from a corner.
After Luis Suarez had added a fourth on the break, Sturridge was given the opportunity to score a hat-trick from the penalty spot but blazed his effort into the Kop.
He showed his frustration at missing the spot-kick and then at being taken off with around 20 minutes to go, but Rodgers was keen to focus attention on the forward’s all-action display.
“It was a brilliant individual performance from Daniel,” the Reds boss told reporters. “His two finishes were sublime and he was outstanding in the game.
“He’s always a threat, he can score in every single game he plays in and normally does. He was outstanding in the game.”
Sturridge was clearly upset at being replaced, but insisted after the match that he was annoyed at his own performance rather than his withdrawal, and Rodgers says that it was much ado about nothing.
“He was just still frustrated after the penalty,” the Irishman explained. “He apologised to the group.
“You shouldn’t disrespect anyone, in particular the supporters and your team-mates. But he hasn’t done that, he was just frustrated and was desperate to get on the scoresheet again.”
The former Swansea boss was also keen to highlight the influence of Gerrard, after the Liverpool captain scored his eighth goal in Merseyside derbies and offered Sturridge the chance to take the penalty to seal his hat-trick.
“His influence in these games is wonderful. He organises the team and scored a goal. He’s such a generous man.
“A local guy in a derby, to give away a penalty [to Sturridge] shows the mark of the man that he is. He led the team and was outstanding.”
Gerrard himself admitted that he was the one who urged Sturridge to take the spot-kick.
“I’ll take responsibility for that, I’ve scored a hat-trick against Everton and wanted Daniel to experience that feeling,” he told BT Sport.
“Daniel was magnificent, he absolutely destroyed them first half and the third goal killed Everton, it knocked the stuffing out of them.
“Then we knew we could hit them on the break and it worked a treat.”