The debate rages on over whether Liverpool should continue to keep the faith with Daniel Sturridge. The striker, who has been linked with a move away from Anfield in recent weeks, has spent much of the last two years injured.
Not only have many fans lost patience with Sturridge, but there are reports that even Jurgen Klopp is starting to consider whether or not to cash in on him at the next opportunity.
A series of problems has seen the 26-year-old limited to just three Premier League starts this season, which is just as bad as the seven starts he managed in the entire 2014/15 campaign.
But while fans may be frustrated with the England international, former boss Brendan Rodgers has given Sturridge his full backing. Rodgers was the man who originally brought Sturridge to Merseyside in 2013 and was in charge when he had his best season to date.
Sturridge scored 21 goals and assisted a further seven in 2013/14, helping Liverpool to a second-place finish behind Manchester City. Naturally, then, the Northern Irishman believes that, on his day, Sturridge is a world-class striker and that there is not many in the game who can match him.
Here is what Rodgers told beIN Sports:
“If Daniel Sturridge is fit he is a player you would seriously look to take. He has genuine world class ability. When fit, there's not too many better than him.
“There's different types of strikers: Harry Kane is a wonderful finisher, Jamie Vardy has great pace and has come onto the scene exceptionally well and is playing consistently and Wayne Rooney is a player I have admired during all of his career.
“He is a big-game player and his experience will be vital, but it is hard to rule out Daniel because he offers so much. He can score a goal in a flash and has got all the attributes.
“Daniel is a real good guy. He obviously wants to play: of course, when you have that ability you want to train and play. It just seems that he has been very, very unfortunate. All I ever tried to do was encourage him and take the pressure off.
“He is a real good guy: you can talk to him and communication can be open. He wants to receive information and to talk with the manager as well, but he is just in this run of injuries. He has been so unfortunate.
“He played for me for 18 months and, along with Luis Suarez, was right up there. I had two of the best strikers in the world. From that summer, when we finished runners up and got into the Champions League, he has just been marred by injuries.
“I am sure it is so frustrating for Daniel. It is frustrating knowing him well to see him not being able to play. Certainly, from my time at Liverpool, if he was out I really missed him and so did the team. When you have a player of that quality, of course it will affect your results.”
According to reports, the feeling between frustrated fans and Sturridge is mutual. Not only do fans want him sold, but the player himself wants to leave.
The Daily Mail claimed that Sturridge had been fuming with the way fans have treated him during this difficult period and that he would actively look to leave in the summer. Klopp later denied the story, but the fact that it ran across several national publications suggests someone from Sturridge's camp wanted the story out.
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