Sturridge substition, good man management from Rodgers?

Sturridge was initially unhappy at being substituted during Liverpool's 4-0 Merseyside derby demolition of Everton.

One thing that may get overlooked during the substitution of Daniel Sturridge was Brendan Rodgers and his management of the situation.

Having scored two very well taken goals it’s understandable that Sturridge was hungry to secure his second hat-trick for the club. Steven Gerrard wanted him to get a hat-trick like he had done two years beforehand against Everton by handing him the opportunity when Liverpool were awarded a penalty.

After blazing his penalty miss over the bar he was desperate to take the next opportunity that came his way. Some will feel he is entitled to feel a bit selfish and try and secure the match ball when the game is won at 4-0 up – others will say he should have laid off to Philippe Coutinho and Luis Suarez who were in support, especially those fans who wanted to see as much misery as possible inflicted on their biggest rivals.

Soon after he was put through by Coutinho and Sturridge’s first touch meant the opportunity for him to score had gone – he didn’t lay the ball off to the Brazilian in space, and Rodgers decided it was time to substitute him.

Sturridge has had the tag of being a selfish footballer, which is easy to see why on last night’s display. For all the qualities he has in the final third, if he thinks the opportunity is there for himself, the chances are he will do everything he can to take it.

Rodgers hauling him off and replacing him with Victor Moses sent out the right message. The game might be won, but if there is a team mate free who has a better chance of scoring, you should lay it off to them. The official reason may be to 'shore the game up' but it doesn't seem typical of Rodgers - even if he was turning his attentions to Sunday's trip to West Bromwich Albion.

Sturridge said: ‘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 may not be a bad thing that Sturridge reacted in the way he did given he was frustrated, but the apology itself shows that Rodgers has the respect and has managed his players well during his reign so far.

image: © kuaver

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