Liverpool need fit Daniel Sturridge to win top-four race, says Reds legend
Steve Nicol says Daniel Sturridge is vital to Liverpool's chances of top-four finish
Daniel Sturridge must stay fit if Liverpool want to finish in the top four, Steve Nicol has stressed.
The 25-year-old started his first Premier League game since August on Tuesday night as the England international helped the Reds win 3-2 against rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
To get in the Champions League spot, into that top four, Daniel Sturridge is 100 per cent the key
Sturridge won a second-half penalty which Steven Gerrard duly dispatched after Harry Kane had cancelled out Lazar Markovic’s opener, before Moussa Dembele levelled for Spurs.
The Liverpool forward was replaced by Balotelli in the second half, and although the controversial Italian netted a dramatic winner, Nicol highlighted Sturridge as the key man for Merseyside outfit.
Speaking to talkSPORT, Nicol said: “We saw the difference when Liverpool have Daniel Sturridge up front,” said Nicol, as he reviewed the big game with Mike Graham on Extra Time.
“He is a real centre forward, his movement, the way he makes space for himself.
“For Liverpool, the key is Daniel Sturridge, no question. He was the star of the show.
“He not only creates chances and space for himself, but his movement opens it up for others.
“Have we ever seen [Lazar] Markovic making runs through the middle of the park and being so free? That is down to the movement of Sturridge.
“To get in the Champions League spot, into that top four, Daniel Sturridge is 100 per cent the key.”
Sturridge has scored two goals in five appearances during an injury-hit Premier League campaign.
The Reds forward finished as Liverpool’s second-highest goal-scorer last season after he netted 21 times in 29 top-flight games.
Liverpool make the trip to third-placed Southampton in their next Premier League outing on 22 February.