Friday 23 March 2018

Liverpool icon Ian Rush moves to defend misfiring Daniel Sturridge

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and Daniel Sturridge. Reuters / Phil Noble
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and Daniel Sturridge. Reuters / Phil Noble

Samuel Lovett

Liverpool icon Ian Rush has thrown his support behind out-of-form Daniel Sturridge after insisting the forward can overcome his current goal drought – as he long as he doesn’t “shy away” from his chances.

Sturridge has now gone five games without a goal and put in a particularly disappointing performance in Wednesday’s EFL Cup exit to Southampton.

With a total of six goals to his name this season, the 27-year-old has come under extensive scrutiny and after missing two goalscoring opportunities on Wednesday night, the critics were quick to jump on the player’s back once again.

But Rush, who scored 346 goals for the club, has moved to defend Sturridge, arguing the player will rediscover his form as long as he continues to find the right positions on the pitch.

“If you lose confidence and you stop getting in them positions, then there’s a problem,” said Rush.

“That’s why there’s mental toughness that’s needed now to still get in those areas. It doesn’t matter if you miss 10, you’re doing something right because you’re in that positions.

“The worst things I’ve seen with strikers is they’ll do it twice (miss) and they won’t get in that position again, they shy away from that.

“Keep getting in those positions and your luck will change – on another day Daniel would have scored. You can’t criticise him for missing because he’s done something right to get in the right position and if he keeps doing that the time will come when he gets three chances, scores three goals and everyone will forget about this.

“It’s about being positive and having that mental toughness.”

After Liverpool’s failure to reach the League Cup final – a competition Rush won on five occasions during his time with the club – the former Reds forward urged Jurgen Klopp’s men to react.

“I think it’s the first semi-final Klopp has lost. Semi-finals are a nightmare you know. But they’ve had two chances at it. It’s disappointing but it’s how you react to it, it’s going to be an interesting few weeks.

“A few weeks ago and everyone was happy – we’re going to finish in the top four, we’re going to win a trophy.

“Three weeks down the line, we’re not in the trophy we had the best chance of winning any more, we lost to Swansea, but it’s all about how you react.

“Everything’s great when you’re winning, it’s when you’re not it matters. The fans played their part in fairness on Wednesday night and got behind the team, it’s up to the players to react.”

Independent News Service

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