Rodgers: Sturridge some way off top striker tag

Without the forward, last season’s Premier League runners-up have won just four of their opening nine games and trail league-leaders Chelsea by nine points

Brendan Rodgers believes Daniel Sturridge needs European performances to become a top-class striker at Liverpool once he returns from injury.

The England striker has not featured for his club since the end of August, having picked up a thigh problem while on international duty in September before suffering a setback midway through October.

Liverpool have struggled in his absence, with Mario Balotelli still searching for his first Premier League goal following his €20 million move, but Rodgers is confident Sturridge can provide a lift upon his return.

“Top players have such an influence on the team,” Rodgers told reporters. “When you are under the cosh, you know that you have strikers who can score out of nothing. It is a big weapon.

“Sturridge is one of them. That is where we aim to get with Daniel. But he won’t become a top European striker until he plays consistently. It doesn’t matter about potential. You have to play.

“When he comes back into the team, you will see the confidence because of the movement and the dynamic, but he isn’t fit and he hasn’t been for a long time.”

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