Derby hero Daniel Sturridge apologises for storming off after substitution
Liverpool’s derby hero Daniel Sturridge ended a triumphant evening apologising to his team mates after being denied an historic hat-trick.
Manager Brendan Rodgers substituted Sturridge 71 minutes into the 4-0 victory, the England striker having scored two but missed a penalty.
Sturridge appeared to ask Rodgers why he’d been replaced and later said: “I want to apologise for my reaction after being substituted. I was disappointed about the penalty.”
Rodgers explained the decision was tactical and also issued a reminder that any show of dissent would not be tolerated, even from his star players.
“It wasn’t a difficult decision to take him off,” said Rodgers. “His two finishes were sublime and he was outstanding. He always looks a threat and looks like he could score whenever he plays but I wanted to shore the game up.
“I think he was still frustrated after the penalty and he apologised to the group. We have to show respect. If the manager decides to take you off, sometimes it’s tactical or because of injury.
“Whatever it is you sit down and if you want an answer known on the door the next days and we’ll talk about it. He was just frustrated.”
Captain Steven Gerrard, though, admitted some responsibility, adding: “I’ve scored a hat-trick against Everton and I wanted Daniel to experience that feeling. I’m sure the disappointment will see him strive to do better.”
Liverpool’s victory consolidated their position in fourth and cut the gap on leaders Arsenal to six points. It ranks as one of Rodgers’ most significant as Liverpool manager.
He said: “I’m delighted for the players and the supporters. Feelings run high in this city. It was a brilliant team performance, outstanding on the counter attack and clinical in front of goal. We could have scored more. We looked like we would score every time going forward.
“I think all wins are important but that puts us four points clear of Everton and psychologically it was a big win for us. I know how special it is to get that win.”
Rodgers also reserved particular praise for Gerrard, adding: “He was influential tonight from that deeper position.
“You’ve see his responsibility from the role. He’s organising on the field and he is such an unselfish guy to give away a penalty to Daniel. It shows the mark of the man.”
With time running out before the closure of the transfer window, Rodgers said he was still hoping to add to his squad before Friday.
“Hopefully we can do something before the window closes,” he said. “The owners have been brilliant and people are working very hard, we’re just not going to get all the players we want for a number of reasons. We are very much working together.”
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