Football

Sturridge ready to make Champions League impact

Ex-United defender highlights City's drop in performance from November to January during past two seasons

GROUP E
LIVERPOOL MARIBOR

Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge is eager to make a big impact in the Champions League as he hopes to make his first start in the competition for the Merseyside club when they host Slovenian side Maribor tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

Sturridge joined Liverpool in 2013 and the club have since qualified for the Champions League twice, starting with the 2014/15 season when the 28-year-old failed to recover from his injuries before Brendan Rodgers' side dropped into the Europa League.

Juergen Klopp has led the side back into Europe's elite competition and Sturridge, who won the competition with Chelsea in 2012, is raring to go.

"We've been in the Champions League two times since I've been at the club," Sturridge told the Liverpool Echo.

"Obviously, I missed out the first time but hopefully I can be a big part of this European campaign.

"I played in the competition many times for Chelsea and we won it when I was there. It's nothing new to me.

"You want to be playing at this level. I am ready for when the opportunity comes...

"I'm feeling good. I want to stay healthy and I want to keep scoring goals for the team."

Sturridge has made substitute appearances in each of Liverpool's three opening Champions League games but is yet to score as the club top Group E on goal difference with one win and two draws. The England international has started four of the Reds' 10 league matches this campaign and has scored twice.

Like Sturridge, Liverpool have yet to truly fire this season, and manager Klopp believes some Reds fans have unrealistic expectations.

Referring to Liverpool's rich history - which includes 18 English titles and five European Cups - the German said: "The problem here is the moment things don't work out, we get compared with the past.

"They wreck the confidence of the players when they say things like, 'You are not good enough'. It's a problem."

The nasty side of fan abuse has come to the fore with off-form Reds defender Dejan Lovren revealing a message he received on Instagram threatening to murder his family.

The Croat responded: "I don't mind when people talk shit about me, it says more about them!

"But I cannot ignore when my family is threatened. I just can't and won't accept that. Disgusting." - WIRE SERVICES

Champions LeagueliverpoolDaniel Sturridge