Confrontation with boss following Merseyside derby substitution
Daniel Sturridge apologised to manager Brendan Rodgers after a show of petulance left a sour taste despite his two goals in Liverpool’s 4-0 Mersey derby demolition of Everton.
Sturridge was hauled off by Rodgers after 72 minutes of the match, not long after blowing his chance for a derby hat-trick by blasting a penalty over the crossbar.
The England striker then appeared to say something to his boss after reluctantly accepting Rodgers’ handshake, and the Liverpool manager promptly brought him into line with what looked like a sharp rebuke.
Frustration: Daniel Sturridge argues with Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers after being substituted
Having words: Sturridge and Rodgers exchanged views after the striker was brought off in the second half and the England striker appeared to shake off Rodgers’ attempt at a handshake (right) as he walked to the bench
Glare: The argument was clear to see but both Sturridge and Rodgers insisted that there is no problem
It briefly stopped Sturridge in his tracks, before he continued on his way, while Rodgers did not look amused.
Sturridge was later spotted looking visibly upset while sat on the bench.
Sturridge told BT Sport after the match: ‘I apologise for my reaction. I was disappointed by missing the penalty and felt I’d let myself down as well as the fans. The hat-trick would have been the icing on the cake and it’s unfortunate.
‘I was disappointed with myself. It was nothing to do with the manager and I’d like to apologise for my reaction if anybody took any offence. It’s not about me, it’s about the boys and a great victory.’
Rodgers insisted there was no issue with Sturridge and praised his striker for his superb two-goal display. But Rodgers did admit that Sturridge was clearly frustrated with his dreadful penalty miss.
‘I think in fairness with Dan he was frustrated about the penalty,’ said Rodgers. ‘I always say to the players when I take them off “we’re a team”.
‘As the manager you make substitutions for all sort of reasons, so whatever and how you feel – whether you are happy or unhappy – keep it to yourself and speak to me the next day.
Howler: Sturridge ballooned his penalty over the crossbar when a goal would have secured a hat-trick
Head in his hands: The Reds forward was left in disbelief at his woeful penalty effort
My responsibility: Steven Gerrard insisted it was his decision for Sturridge to take the penalty
‘There is no problem but obviously he was frustrated – but he was brilliant tonight.’
Captain Steven Gerrard, who opened the scoring after 21 minutes, made the decision to hand Sturridge the ball for the penalty as he wanted his team-mate to experience – as he has in the past – a hat-trick against Everton.
‘I take responsibility for that,’ Gerrard said. ‘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 thoroughly dominated the game against another team challenging for a top-four place, and Gerrard said they had been inspired by a poor performance in their previous home game, a 2-2 draw with Aston Villa.
Good night’s work: Despite the flashpoint, Sturridge can take comfort from two goals in the Mersey derby
Making his point: Sturridge celebrates his superb second goal in Liverpool’s 4-0 win against Everton
‘I think it goes back to Aston Villa,’ he said. ‘We let the fans down, we let ourselves down and it was our first bad performance of the season.
‘We had to get back to our way of playing and being ruthless at home. Every player to a man today was superb.’
The win sees Liverpool move within six points of the top of the table, three points clear in fourth of Tottenham who face Manchester City on Wednesday, and staying in that top four remains the Reds’ first priority as they seek a return to the Champions League.
‘That’s our target and it’s been our target since pre-season,’ Gerrard said. ‘We’ve got two world class forwards and against anyone we’ve got a chance.’
On top of the world: Liverpool celebrate their derby demolition of Everton at Anfield
Source : Daily Mail