Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge relished an increasingly rare chance to start for the Reds after netting a brace in their 2-1 EFL Cup win against Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield on Tuesday (26 October). The 27-year-old England international has been a peripheral figure under manager Jurgen Klopp this season and Sturridge confessed he was relieved to be given an opportunity to impress.
Strurridge scored a goal in each half against Maurcio Pochettino's much-changed side and also struck the bar with an inventive effort from distance late on. Sturridge - who has started five games this season for his club - said he was pleased to have made a contribution to Liverpool's win following recent criticism of his performances.
"We had a lot of chances. I think we deserved it," the Reds star explained to Sky Sports after Liverpool sealed their place in the quarter finals.
Sturridge's first goal came courtesy of an instinctive finish from close range after Marko Grujic's shot was deflect into his path. His second goal came after Georginio Wijnaldum's precise through-ball put Sturridge one-on-one with Tottenham goalkeeper Michel Vorm.
"When you have a lot of time, sometimes it can be more difficult, but the first one was instinctive," the Liverpool star recalled. "It's a nice feeling (to be back in the team), I'm happy with tonight."
Klopp, meanwhile, revealed he was pleased with Sturridge's performance against Tottenham, although he admitted the striker could have scored more goals on the night. "He did what he had to do. He could have scored three or four goals," the Liverpool manager explained. "But [goalscoring] is his big strength and he showed that again."
Klopp, who also handed starts to Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ovie Ejaria, said he was delighted with the performances of his young players. "The youngsters were really good," Klopp shared after the match. "Trent Alexander-Arnold made a wonderful start in the game. They can play better but with the pressure and new circumstances it was really good.
"We had the bigger chances and we deserved to win. We created a wonderful atmosphere and nobody could leave early."