Brendan Rodgers opted not to start with Daniel Sturridge in the Merseyside Derby on Saturday as the striker was left on the bench.
This was seen as a surprise by many as Joe Allen came into the side ahead of Sturridge. Sturridge had played a full 90 minutes for England in midweek even though he was not 100% fit with a thigh injury. This move by Roy Hodgson was not well received by many and Rodgers seems to have been very upset with this and thus he opted not to start with Sturridge because of his exploits for England.
The Liverpool manager said as reported by The Gaurdian; “I am looking at him in training on Friday and he is not right. Whose responsibility is that? It is the [Football] Association and the player.
“It is very simple for me. With any player, you have to put yourself on the training field. If you do that, you will be in with a chance of playing. Jon Flanagan was immense. He will be in a derby that is shown on Sky Golden in 30 years’ time because of his desire and will to put himself out there every day.
“If you don’t do that, there is a consequence – you don’t play. If you want to be a champion, if you want to win things, you have to be ready. For this game I just felt Daniel wasn’t ready.”
Rodgers was asked how Sturridge responded to the news and whether he asked to play in such an important occasion? “No, I could see it in him. I have seen it before. There is a trend,” he replied. “The games he has disappointed in have come when he hasn’t trained. That was the call here.”
So if a player does not train well or train at all, then they will not feature for Rodgers. One can see where Rodgers is coming from with all of this; hard work in training will be rewarded and we have seen that with Flanagan.
It was so refreshing to see the quality on the Liverpool bench for the Everton, we had Sturridge, Moses, Sterling and Alberto on the bench, all who are able to come on and change the game. Sturridge came on and grabbed us the equaliser whilst the introduction of Moses gave us more attacking options.
It is clear that Sturridge is not 100% fit and we have been seeing this for a while now. There is no point continuing to play him whilst he is carrying an injury. It is best to get him on the treatment table even if it means he misses two or three weeks and we get him 100% right.