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Monday 20 November 2017

Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge: I put England before my club

Daniel Sturridge scored on Saturday
Daniel Sturridge scored on Saturday

Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge says he played 90 minutes of England's friendly against Germany despite carrying a thigh injury

Daniel Sturridge, the Liverpool striker, says he felt a duty to play for England against Germany last week, despite not being fully fit.

Sturridge was criticised for pulling out of the World Cup qualifier in Ukraine in September, but played the full 90 minutes in the friendly defeat to Germany despite participating in just one training session while away with his country.

While many will applaud his commitment to the nation, it did no favours to his club or manager Brendan Rodgers, who could not start his prolific striker in the Merseyside derby.

Sturridge salvaged a point for his side against Everton, but Rodgers was frustrated the striker was unavailable to play 90 minutes at Goodison Park.

“I have been hampered for the past three games,” explained Sturridge. “Since the West Brom game when I got the bang I’ve had blood underneath my muscles in my thigh. It’s still there now. When I shoot from long distance I still feel pain but it’s getting better.

“It’s important that I’m training. I didn’t get to train much when I was away with England. I only trained once before the game. I need to get the momentum going and just try to get it right and make sure I’m in the right condition to be able to go out there and do myself justice.

“I hope I’ll be fit enough to start against Hull next weekend. It would be great to be back in the side.

“For me, regardless of what condition you are in, if you are selected by the England manager you go out there and do the best you can regardless of whether you are carrying an injury or not.

“The manager gave me an opportunity and it’s always a pleasure to put the England shirt on. Regardless of what condition you’re in, fit or not fit, if you are selected for England you go out there and do your best.”

Sturridge still struck a crucial goal in the derby, which finished 3-3, and explained why he decided to celebrate in front of the Everton fans.

“The fans in that part of the ground were abusing me the whole time I was warming up so it was only right that I went down there and gave them a bit back,” he said.

“It’s all about the banter. It was nothing personal. A lot of people on the sidelines give the players a lot of banter when they are warming up. Sometimes you get the opportunity to return the favour and on Saturday I got the chance to do that.”

Sturridge admits his derby goal could hamper his shopping arrangements for a few weeks, however.

“The guy in the supermarket warned me he wouldn’t serve me if I scored so I’m not going in my local shop for a while now,” he said.

Liverpool will be without Jose Enrique until February after he underwent knee surgery. Jon Flanagan is now expected to be rewarded with a prolonged run in the side.

Everton left-back Leighton Baines faces a month out with a broken toe, suffered during the game on Saturday.

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