Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge has apologised to the fans for his reaction to being substituted, after spurning a glorious chance to earn a derby day hat-trick against Everton on Tuesday.
Liverpool thrashed Everton 4-0 at Anfield to maintain their fight for a top-four finish with Steven Gerrard, Sturridge and Luis Suarez, among the scorers in the Merseyside derby.
“I apologise if anyone was offended” the striker said.
It was a day when nothing worked well for the visitors. Toffees on-loan striker, Romelu Lukaku, was taken off on a stretcher with what looked a serious ankle ligament damage after Gareth Barry slipped and slid into the big Belgian as he attempted to shield off Gerrard’s opener.
Liverpool had a glorious opportunity to increase Everton’s woes when referee Martin Atkinson awarded a penalty after goalkeeper Tim Howard pulled down young starlet Raheem Sterling in the goal area.
Sturridge, who was in search of a hat-trick after scoring a brace in two minutes, deservedly earned the right to convert the spot-kick and claim the matchball, but blazed it wide over the bar.
That was to be the England international’s last act as he made way for Victor Moses, but was not too impressed with his boss, Brendan Rodgers.
After leaving the field, he went over to the Northern Irishman, and asked for an explanation, but was told off immediately.
“I felt I had let myself and the fans down by missing the penalty. I didn’t react to the manager, I was just disappointed with how I missed the penalty.
“It’s not about myself, it’s about all the boys,” Sturridge added.
Rodgers admitted his decision to play Suarez and Sterling upfront was a calculated risk that paid off, while describing the former’s penalty miss as pure ill-luck and not an issue between himself and his player.
“In fairness to Daniel, he was frustrated after not scoring the penalty,” Rodgers said. “We are very much a team and if anyone is unhappy we say to just keep it t yourself and speak to me the next day, but there is no problem with Daniel. He was brilliant tonight.”
The win took Liverpool to 46 points, 8 points adrift of leaders, Arsenal, who drew 2-2 against Southampton at the St Mary’s Stadium, while Everton ebbed two points of Manchester United’s grasp.