Daniel Sturridge set for starting role after derby heroics
Liverpool: Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said striker Daniel Sturridge will be back in the starting line-up soon enough after his starring role in the Merseyside derby against Everton.
Sturridge came off the bench to score a dramatic late equaliser -- his 11th goal of the season -- as Liverpool took a share of the points following an enthralling 3-3 Premier League draw at Goodison Park on Saturday.
The striker only played the last 11 minutes of the match having barely been able to train beforehand because of a dead leg, which Rodgers previously said had been aggravated while the 24-year-old was on international duty with England.
Rodgers explained he was forced to use Sturridge sparingly in such a high octane encounter.
"This is a game where you need every single player fighting and working and, on assessment, Daniel wasn`t going to be able to do that," Rodgers said.
"I said to him before the game, at the team meeting, that he has been a hero and match-winner for us when he starts since he has been in -- and I told him against Everton he might have to do it from the bench.”
"At 3-2, you`re thinking that from a game we should never be behind in against a rival, we need to show our resolve and spirit. That`s what we did.”
"Thankfully, Daniel came on and got a great header. He`ll have a good week`s training next week and be back in contention to start next week (when Liverpool are away to Hull)."
Philippe Coutinho had earlier put Liverpool ahead in the fifth minute from a corner only for Kevin Mirallas to equalise three minutes later.
Luis Suarez`s spectacular free-kick past Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard in the 19th minute gave visitors Liverpool a 2-1 lead at half-time but Everton hit back after the break.
On-loan Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku looked to a have given Everton the points with two goals in the space of 10 minutes only for Sturridge to have the final word in the 89th minute.
Rodgers felt Everton should have played the majority of the contest with 10 men, though, after a high tackle from Mirallas on Suarez which referee Phil Dowd only punished with a yellow card.
"I thought he should have been sent off," Rodgers said. "It was a really bad challenge.
"We want to see 11 versus 11, end-to-end, attacking football -- that`s what you want to see. You don`t want to see anybody getting sent off. But if they should be, then that`s what should happen."
Everton manager Roberto Martinez felt Dowd`s decision not to dismiss Mirallas was correct because the Belgian winger never meant to hurt Suarez.
"I don`t think it is a red card because it is not a malicious incident," Martinez said.
"I think a yellow card, bearing in mind the emotions you bring into a derby, was the right decision."
Martinez had mixed feelings after his first Merseyside derby, acknowledging Everton needed to improve their defending given all three Liverpool goals came from set-pieces.
"We were magnificent in terms of the amount of chances we created. Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet was man of the match and rightly so," Martinez said.
"But we`re really disappointed to concede three goals from dead-ball situations," the Spaniard added.
"I thought we controlled the game well and they (Liverpool) didn`t have a shot on target from open play in the first half but managed to score twice."
Everton defender Leighton Baines went to hospital for an X-ray after the match with an injured toe which saw the England left-back substituted in the second half.