• Premier League

Sturridge can emulate Suarez - Rodgers

ESPN staff
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Rodgers believes Sturridge can be World Class

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes Daniel Sturridge has the potential to emulate Luis Suarez and become "world class".

Sturridge made a goalscoring return as a substitute in Sunday's 5-3 win at Stoke, and is in line to make his first start since suffering an ankle injury in late November.

Rodgers said: "My opinion about Daniel has only been reinforced during the time I have worked with him. Daniel has a wonderful opportunity over the next couple of years to become world class. He has every tool he needs to be a world-class striker, similar to Luis Suarez.

"He came on during the game last weekend and was superb, which is a great credit to him on how focused he has been in getting back to full fitness."

Rodgers is also adamant his Liverpool team are still in the race for their first league title since 1990.

Liverpool are six points behind Premier League leaders Arsenal ahead of Saturday's home game against Aston Villa.

The Reds go into that match in fourth place, and with work to do to catch a tightly-bunched top three. Arsenal are one point ahead of Manchester City and two clear of Chelsea - with a four-point gap then between third and fourth spot.

Liverpool were top on Christmas Day, but have been playing catch-up since, losing at City and Chelsea in the space of four days just before the New Year. However they still have to face all of the current top three at Anfield this season, and Rodgers believes that offers them ample opportunity to get back into the title race.

He said: "We've got all those teams to play at home, and we are six points off the lead, so we have to feel that we are. Our confidence and belief are good. Everyone will talk about the three clubs in front of us, and how they have been in that race over the last few years.

"It's very, very close at the top, and since Christmas Day, the lead has changed hands a few times. For us, it's a case of continuing to improve. We have to maintain focus and concentration. We've got to keep the standards high."

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