Daniel Sturridge has taunted former club Chelsea by suggesting his recent run of form is down to Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers believing in his abilities.
As reported by David Maddock of the Daily Star, the current Premier League top scorer believes he just needed a little love to realise his potential:
Brendan Rodgers knows what I need. I needed to be believed in, to play as a centre-forward at a club, and I didn’t get that at Chelsea.
He gave me the opportunity to do that here. It’s great to be part of his philosophy. He gets the most out of his players, and makes us want to win for him.
Sturridge spent a frustrating four years at Stamford Bridge after arriving from Manchester City, where he also failed to deliver on his promise.
Despite outlining his potential as a centre-forward with a terrific showing during his 2011-12 loan spell at Bolton, the 24-year-old was rarely given an opportunity to shine in his favoured position at the West London club.
The player suggests Rodgers’ willingness to deploy him in the middle—instead of on the flanks—is one of the reasons he continues to perform, per Maddock’s report.
"When I went to Bolton , I was able to show what I can do because I was playing as a centre-forward," Sturridge said. "At Chelsea, I never got the chance to do that; but I’ve got that opportunity here."
The Anfield striker has scored eight goals and provided two assists in nine games for Liverpool this season, per Who Scored.
His effectiveness in front of goal was recently rewarded by England manager Roy Hodgson, who handed Sturridge the No. 9 shirt for the country’s crucial World Cup qualifying wins over Montenegro and Poland.
Sturridge netted a penalty in the first clash, helping the Three Lions to secure a 4-1 win and eventual passage to next summer’s tournament.
Chelsea’s strikers continue to have their problems in front of goal. Fernando Torres, Demba Ba and Samuel Eto’o have just two Premier League goals between them this season, per Who Scored, and continue to suffer inconsistent form.
If Rafa Benitez and the previous regime had kept hold of Sturridge, perhaps the Portuguese boss wouldn't need to spend so lavishly on a new centre-forward.