Liverpool V Notts County at Anfield : Match Preview

27 August 2013 11:31
Liverpool V Notts County - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Rodgers: Sturridge can go far

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is convinced Daniel Sturridge has all the attributes to become one of the world's best strikers.

Sturridge has got Liverpool's season off to a fine start with the match-winning goals in both their opening Barclays Premier League games against Stoke and Aston Villa.

It continues the positive impression the 24-year-old has made since his B#12million signing from Chelsea in January.

Sturridge scored 11 goals in 16 appearances for the Reds last season and, as he reaches full fitness after an ankle problem in the summer, Rodgers believes he is only going to get better.

Rodgers said: "The frightening thing is that he has still got a bit to go in terms of his fitness.

"He only joined the group in the last few weeks of pre-season - he is still getting up to speed. I think once he is fully fit then he will be even better.

"It is a mark of how hard he has worked in a short period of time.

"His goals-games record here is incredible in the short period of time he has been here.

"If you assess the world's great strikers - the pace and power they have, the touch, good in the air, two good feet, super quick - then he possesses all of that."

Rodgers is expected to make changes to his side for their midweek Capital One Cup second-round tie against Notts County at Anfield.

The Reds host Manchester United on Sunday and Rodgers is likely to utilise the depth of his squad, but he insists the cup competition is of great importance.

He said: "Our focus is, we are concentrating only on the next game and for us it is Notts County.

"We will treat them with the same respect as we will Manchester United. We want to do well in the cup competitions this year.

"It will be an opportunity for some players, who maybe haven't featured, to get a game. But the core of our team will very much be there. We will have a strong side out."

County have started the season poorly, collecting just one point in their opening four League One games.

Their only victory came against League Two Fleetwood in the previous round of the cup, but Rodgers is paying no attention to the formbook.

He said: "Chris Kiwomya has gone in, his first job, and has picked up the baton.

"Even though they haven't had a great start, with three losses and a draw, it is something I am sure they will pick up because they do have some good players.

"We will always respect every opponent we play, no matter what division they are from.

"Our focus is on getting the job done and getting to the next round."

Notts County should take inspiration from last year's Capital One Cup finalists Bradford, according to Magpies captain Dean Leacock.

Liverpool, eight-time winners of the competition - most recently in 2012, are not in Europe this season so enter at this stage and were arguably the plum draw in round two. Leacock certainly thinks so.

While the centre-half acknowledges they are firm underdogs, he points to Bradford's exploits last season. The west Yorkshire club became the first team from the fourth tier for half a century to reach the final, claiming the scalps of Premier League trio Wigan, Arsenal and Aston Villa en route to Wembley.

Leacock said: "It is a dream draw for us. As soon as we beat Fleetwood in round one we all wanted a big draw and we have certainly got it. It is the biggest draw we could have got - it is brilliant for the players, the fans and the club as a whole.

"Liverpool are one of the biggest clubs in the world so it is going to be very special to play at Anfield - and anything is possible.

"Of course, everyone will be expecting us to lose. But we can go there without any fear, without any pressure, and you never know what could happen. Look at Bradford last season. They beat Arsenal and Aston Villa and made it all the way to the final so anything can happen."

Leacock is doubtful for the game with a leg injury, as are fellow defender Alan Sheehan (hamstring) and forwards Enoch Showunmi (back) and Danny Haynes (knock).

Source: PA