• Premier League

Rodgers: Sturridge ready to be our main man

ESPN staff
July 28, 2014
Rodgers: Scoring not a problem without Suarez

Daniel Sturridge has what it takes to take on the mantle left by Luis Suarez, according to Brendan Rodgers.

Sturridge was Liverpool's second highest goalscorer last season with 24 and his manager believes he is ready to spearhead a new look attacking line-up.

"I've seen a difference in Daniel since he came back," said Rodgers. "He has obviously got confidence from the World Cup and his season last year.

Henderson impressed by Markovic

Lazar Markovic signed from Benfica for £20 million © Getty Images
  • Jordan Henderson has hailed new signing Lazar Markovic after an impressive display in Liverpool's pre-season friendly with Olympiakos.
  • Markovic looked dangerous throughout, proving why he has become one of the most coveted young European talents.
  • "I thought he was brilliant," Henderson told the club's official website. "It's his first game and he gelled really well. He kept getting the ball, taking players on; he looked really lively so I think he'll be delighted with his game.
  • "He's very creative; he's great with the ball, playing one-twos and [making] runs in behind all the time so he's a great threat for us going forward, especially on the counter-attack.
  • "He's a great signing and a great plus for us."

"I think he's ready to take on the mantle. He got 20-odd goals last season so he's a striker of great value."

Sturridge joined the likes of Glen Johnson, Steven Gerrard, Raheem Sterling and new signing Lazar Markovic in making their first appearances of pre-season, featuring in Liverpool's 1-0 win against Olympiakos.

Despite Suarez's 31 goals in Liverpool's surprise title surge last season, Rodgers said his current squad will be able to compensate for his absence despite missing out on the signing of French striker Loic Remy.

"I'll just worry about the players I have, who showed in enough games last season and the season before, when we didn't have Luis, that we can score goals," added Rodgers. "That won't be an issue."

Rodgers also admitted his delight in signing Dejan Lovren from Southampton who he describes as a "commanding centre-half".

Lovren was earmarked as Liverpool's top defensive target this summer and joins a Liverpool backline that conceded 50 goals last season.

"I've said since we lost Jamie Carragher that we needed that leadership," said Rodgers. "He's a player that gives us that.

"He's very strong, very commanding, but he can play. I've been really impressed with him.

"I watched him at Lyon, he came into the Premier League with Southampton and I know their players thought he was a big driving force for them and kept them defensively solid.

"He had a really good World Cup. I think he's a player that can still improve, still develop as he's in his mid-20s. He's someone I'm really looking forward to working with."

Daniel Sturridge has the chance to fill the void left by Luis Suarez © Getty Images
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