Thursday 19 January 2017

Owen Hargreaves passionately defends Daniel Sturridge's injury record after big Liverpool win

Published 05/05/2016 | 22:38

Liverpool entered into tonight's Europa League semi-final against Villarreal with a one-goal deficit but their fans needn't have worried as a performance packed with power and pace saw them surge their way into the final.

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The key personnel change made by Jurgen Klopp pre-match was the recalling of Daniel Sturridge to the starting line-up. The striker was left on the bench during the 1-0 defeat in Spain - a move that attracted a lot of criticism - but his return tonight worked a treat tonight.

Sturridge scored one goal and was involved in the other two as Liverpool earned a handsome 3-0 win, and you could tell by the England international's celebration that he was keen to prove his worth to his manager after last week's snub.

Sturridge has been in and out of the team this season - oftentimes due to injury but regularly because Klopp needs to mind his player in case he aggravates one of his many ailments. The Liverpool player's ability to play through the pain barrier has been questioned by many fans and analysts and tonight, BT Sport pundit Owen Hargreaves launched a passionate defence of Sturridge's injury record.

The former Manchester United and Bayern Munich midfielder famously spent seasons at a time on the treatment table and he took umbrage with people taking Sturridge to task for missing games.

"I hate when people do that," he said.

"Question whether someone wants to be fit, whether they want to play football matches. I take personal offence to that."

Hargreaves ultimately lost his fitness battle, retiring at 31 in 2012 having played just nine games in four seasons. Sturridge appears to have finally put his injury woes behind him and Liverpool fans will be delighted that he looks to be coming into form just in time for their Europa League final with Sevilla on May 18th.

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