By Alex Stevens
Jamie Carragher has challenged Daniel Sturridge to win back a regular starting place in the Liverpool team.
The England international was left on the substitute’s bench for the third time in five matches in Wednesday night’s 4-0 thumping of Everton as he was ignored in favour of Divock Origi.
The in-form Belgian broke the deadlock at Anfield with his fifth goal in five matches to justify his starting spot before France international Mamadou Sakho extended the home side’s lead on the stroke of half-time.
Sturridge replaced injured Origi early in the second half after the 20-year-old was the victim of a challenge that left him with suspected ankle ligament damage and was later condemned as “disgusting” by manager Jurgen Klopp.
Eight minutes later, Sturridge killed the game with a cool finish after brilliantly taking on Lucas Leiva’s pass to secure his 10th goal of a truncated season and his seventh in the Premier League.
Philippe Coutinho added a typically spectacular fourth to wrap up the three points and lift Liverpool to seventh in the table.
Former Red defender Carragher appeared to suggest that Sturridge still has work to do to convince Klopp ahead of Saturday’s home clash against Newcastle.
“The record shows the quality that he has got. He is an unbelievable striker,” Carragher told Sky Sports’ live coverage of the Merseyside derby. “But he has to think to himself why isn’t he in the first team? It isn’t an unbelievable Liverpool team.
“The fact that he isn’t playing has to sink in.”
Sturridge scored his 50th Liverpool goal in just 87 matches on Wednesday and has the best goal per minute ratio of any Premier League striker this season.
The striker, whose salary is £150,000-a-week – a well-placed Liverpool source has told Football Insider – admitted afterwards to Sky Sports that he was “frustrated” not to be in the starting X1.
However, the injury to Origi could open the door to Sturridge ahead of the first leg of Europa League semi-final showdown against Villarreal in Spain next Thursday.