Daniel Sturridge: Playing in Europe with Liverpool is massive
Daniel Sturridge is looking forward to finally making his European debut for Liverpool
Daniel Sturridge can’t wait to taste his first experience of European nights at Anfield ahead of Liverpool’s clash against Besiktas on Thursday.
The Reds face the Turkish side in the first leg of their last-32 tie as Brendan Rodgers’ side look to qualify for the Champions League play-off stage by winning the Europa League.
Sturridge missed all of Liverpool’s six group-stage games in Europe’s premier club competition earlier this season due to a string of calf and thigh injuries.
Understandably, the 25-year-old is desperate to make his Europa League bow for Liverpool after a frustrating spell on the sidelines.
Sturridge told a news conference on Wednesday: “It is part of the game and part of what we will face, and so we can’t make excuses about being tired or not understanding the task ahead.
“We will go into it understanding what we have to do to achieve what we want to achieve, and we are looking forward to it – to be playing in European football with Liverpool which is massive – and looking forward to trying to finish in the top four.
“It is important to the club to be involved in this, and it is what we want to achieve.”
Sturridge has previously sampled European glory, with the striker having made seven appearances in Chelsea’s Champions League-winning campaign in 2012.
The England international has scored two goals in 24 appearances in Uefa competitions for Chelsea and Manchester City.
The Liverpool forward has scored two goals in four appearances following his return from injury last month.
Pre-match facts: Liverpool v Besiktas
• Liverpool are unbeaten in five home matches against Turkish sides (W4 D1).
• Besiktas have already taken on English opponents this season, drawing 1-1 away and winning 1-0 at home against Tottenham Hotspur in the Europa League group stage and losing 1-0 on aggregate to Arsenal in the Champions League play-offs.
• Liverpool have not won in their last five European games (D2 L3), and went out to FC Zenit (on away goals) in their last round of 32 tie in 2012-13.
• Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard may be playing his final Uefa club competition campaign having agreed to leave for LA Galaxy in the summer.