After a sluggish start to life for Liverpool under Brendan Rodgers, the manager believes new signing Daniel Sturridge will play a key role in what he hopes will be a much improved second half.
After seeing fifty-five minutes against Mansfield Town on his Liverpool debut, Daniel Sturridge made his second appearance for his new club against Manchester United over the weekend—and for the second match in a row he made an impact, scoring shortly following his introduction and running hard at both ends of the pitch.
"He gave us a different dimension," said Brendan Rodgers of Sturridge's second half performance and the striker's first chance to play alongside Luis Suarez. "Real pace, working on the shoulder of the last defender, and every time he's in the box you just sense that he can get a goal. I think good players enjoy playing with each other.
"With Daniel coming in I think everybody recognises we have a good player who is 23 years of age and has his best years ahead of him. You see him [against Manchester United]—and he's not even fully fit yet—[and know] he's going to be a real handful. For us going forward, he and one or two of the other players are going to be the real difference."
It's still early days for Sturridge, but his first two appearances have certainly provided some amount of vindication for Rodgers after he gambled by plucking the player off Chelsea's scrap heap for £12M. And though Sturridge is still returning to full fitness, on the strength of his two appearances so far it's almost impossible to imagine he won't now start against Norwich on Saturday.
"If I'd thought he could have lasted the game then we'd have put him in [from the start]" added Rodgers. "I thought we'd start trying to be solid and tight, while still creating chances, then once the game opened up a bit Daniel could come on with his pace and power and affect the game."
It didn't quite turn out as the manager had planned—or at least the part about staying solid and tight on the road against a side far higher up the table than Liverpool didn't. Bringing Sturridge on in the second half, though, certainly did change the game as Rodgers had hoped, and for the second match in a row the club's newest signing showed his ability to make a positive impact for his new club.