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Reds manager lauds sharp Sturridge


Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers. Picture: Nick Potts/PA

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers. Picture: Nick Potts/PA

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers. Picture: Nick Potts/PA

LIVERPOOL manager Brendan Rodgers believes Daniel Sturridge has all the qualities to be one of the best strikers in the Premier League.

Sturridge showed his class with a moment of brilliance midway through the first half to secure a 1-0 victory at Aston Villa, receiving Jose Enrique's left-wing pass before dancing past two defenders, rounding Brad Guzan and transferring his balance to poke home with his left foot.

It is the second successive weekend in which the marksman has proved Liverpool's match-winner having fired the Merseyside outfit to a 1-0 opening-day win over Stoke.

Sturridge, fully fit after recovering from an ankle injury sustained on England duty in May, found the net 11 times for the Reds over the second half of last season following his January move from Chelsea.

And Rodgers feels Sturridge has what it takes to rank among the finest in England's top flight.

"Daniel is a player who I believe can prove when he's fit and playing that's he's one of the top strikers in the Premier League," he said.

"He's got all the attributes – he's super quick, got a wonderful touch, great movement and you see his finish and composure (for the goal).

"He just needed an opportunity. His goals-to-game ratio is terrific so far and he just needs to keep his focus and he'll do very well, I'm sure."

A sharper Liverpool bossed the opening 40 minutes but a late flurry from the hosts at the end of the first half set the tone for a second period which Villa dominated.

Liverpool's new goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, who saved a late penalty against Stoke, denied the in-form Christian Benteke with a superb one-handed stop in the 86th minute.

"I was delighted with the players," Rodgers added. "It's about winning and, for us, one-nil is as good as four or five-nil."

Despite defeat, it is a promising start to the season for a youthful Villa side who battled against relegation last season, but have already shown huge progress this term.

It was Villa's third game in a gruelling opening eight days, following victory at Arsenal and defeat at Chelsea.

Boss Paul Lambert admitted he would have taken three points from those tough three matches beforehand and added: "The progress is there for everyone to see, and that's what I'm pleased about."