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The Reds manager saw the striker become "the best No.9 in European football" as a youth player and is thrilled to oversee him recognising and achieving his potential at Anfield

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is delighted to see Daniel Sturridge developing into a confident, top-class player.

The former Chelsea forward, who moved to Anfield in January, has scored seven goals in eight games so far this season and the Reds boss believes that his star man understands his ability and role better than ever.

"He definitely deserves to be playing alongside those world-class talents like [Steven] Gerrard and [Luis] Suarez," Rodgers told the media. "There is no question about that.

"He's a top player, and, yeah, without him being arrogant, I think he knows he's a good player now. He's 24 and he is finally getting the chance now to show consistently that he's a top player.

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"Everyone, from when he was 14, could see his natural talent. I was involved in youth football back then, and at that age he was the best No.9 in European football. He was coveted throughout Europe but just never had the chance to show that ability, perhaps never had the circumstances.

"All he needed was a chance to play and the confidence that everyone believed in in him, which is what he's got at Liverpool.

"At Chelsea, he was coming in and really needed to make an impact - he felt he needed goals to do that, so maybe he had a reputation for being selfish.

"With us, he has done a lot of work on his game and I think he understands now that we will allow his talent to at Liverpool but it is for the team. You saw that against Sunderland where he created two goals for Luis.

"Of course goalscorers want to score goals - they are judged on goals and assists – but, to progress to the very top, they have to be part of a team. He knows, to be a top player, you need to make the others around you better and you need to work hard. That is what he's doing now.

"I think any player wants to feel he belongs and Daniel has that here," Rodgers enthused. "You can't do it on your own. Good players will win you games but you need the overall, you need the unified group. He feels very much a part of it now. You only need to see how hard he is working and how committed he is to see that."

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