Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers showered praise on Daniel Sturridge after watching the striker gun down Fulham with his first Premier League hat-trick.
Liverpool stretched their unbeaten run to seven matches thanks to three strikes from the 23-year-old in today's 3-1 win at Craven Cottage. Given his recent employment with Fulham's rivals Chelsea, the Cottagers fans aimed abuse at the England striker throughout today's match but he responded in style, first equalising Dimitar Berbatov's opener with a brilliant finish from Andre Wisdom's long pass.
He then put Liverpool 2-1 up with an opportunistic finish before rounding off the win with a clever chip over Mark Schwarzer after he latched on to Philippe Coutinho's pass. The striker has now scored 11 goals in the 15 games he has played since moving to Anfield in January, much to his manager's delight. "Daniel was outstanding. He scored three goals and he could have had maybe six," Rodgers said. "I think that's his 11th goal in 15 games since joining Liverpool so he has made a great start to his career.
"If he keeps improving, keeps training well, then I think he will have an outstanding couple of years for us. He's not perfect. He should have squared one when he was through. But he was looking for his hat-trick, he's a goalscorer, and to be greedy you've got to be good. He's an outstanding player."
Sturridge struggled to break in to Chelsea's first-team following his progression through the youth ranks at Manchester City, where he also did not get much game time. His game has developed greatly since he moved to Anfield, however, particularly in recent weeks when he has played the main striker's role in the absence of the suspended Luis Suarez.
"I just think it's always been a case of opportunity with Daniel," Rodgers added. "It was always going to be difficult for him at Chelsea. They had Didier Drogba and he was one of the best in the game. He needed a run of games and he's got that with us.
"People have said that he is stepping in really well for Luis, but I didn't bring him in to be a substitute. I brought him in to play at Liverpool because I believe he can get goals. What we have seen without Luis is that we've still got goals in the team."