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Sturridge: "No Bigger Club Than Liverpool"

Daniel Sturridge made his first effort to win over doubting Liverpool supporters when he scored on his debut. His second attempt may leave a few Chelsea fans in a sour mood, but in the end what he does on the pitch will be the only thing that counts.

Laurence Griffiths

When it became clear Liverpool intended to make Daniel Sturridge their marquee signing in January, not everyone looking on was entirely convinced. Liverpool, it seemed, needed proven options in attack, and though many have long considered Sturridge a bright prospect, he had yet to come good on his promise at Chelsea and appeared surplus to requirements at the London club as they sought to once again challenge for top honours in the Premier League.

It may be far too early to tell whether Liverpool have made the right call when it comes to Sturridge, but only a week after his move the player is doing his best to win over the supporters both on and off the pitch. First his goal just seven minutes into Sunday's FA Cup match against Mansfield Town helped Liverpool through to the fourth round of that competition. And now he's come out brandishing the "big club" line so beloved of fans everywhere in need of having their egos stroked.

"It is the biggest club I have ever played for," said Sturridge. "In the Premier League, there is no bigger club than Liverpool. It's amazing for the manager to put such faith in me. The only way I can repay him is by doing a job on the football field.

"For him to pay money for me and to have faith in me and show everybody around the world that he is prepared to take a chance on me, I don't think I'll ever be able to repay him for that. As a young player, when you play for big clubs you can sometimes get caught up in it and you never get another opportunity to play for another big club. So I'm grateful the manager has given me this chance and that he believes in me. I'm just glad to be here."

Even the most ardent Liverpool supporter likely wouldn't be able to suggest with a straight face that their club remains the biggest in the Premier League. Given Liverpool haven't won a league title since before the Premier League came into existence, in fact, they probably haven't been the biggest club in England in a good long while.

Still, even if it's been a few years since the height of the Rafa Benitez era when it could realistically be argued Liverpool were amongst the biggest and a good while longer since supporters could state unequivocally that there was no bigger club in England, it's an at least amusing effort by Sturridge to win the doubters over. That it comes two years after Fernando Torres headed in the other direction making similar pronouncements about his new club and dismissing his old one won't hurt Sturridge's cause, either.

In the end, though, what will matter more than such platitudes will be his performances. If he can keep scoring goals as he did against Mansfield, then it's safe to say that the rest will take care of itself. And if he can score on the weekend against Manchester United—a rather more difficult task than registering his debut marker against Mansfield Town one would imagine—he will certainly be well on his to winning Liverpool fans over.

"I'd love to start against United but it's down to the manager which team he picks," he said when asked about the chance to start his second game in a row for his new club. "I'm just here to train hard and whichever team he picks will be the one that is right tactically. If he chooses me then great. If not, I'll be looking to come on and make an impact."

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