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Dietmar Hamann has known about Daniel Sturridge from the very start of his career – and the German is delighted that the 23-year-old now has an opportunity to shine at Anfield.
At Manchester City, former Liverpool midfielder Hamann was approaching the end of his distinguished career when the young striker was breaking onto the first-team scene.
The short period which saw the two cross paths was enough for Sturridge to make a long-term impression on Hamann, who believes the striker has given the Reds fresh pace up front.
"I could see back then what a talent he was," Hamann told the Liverpool Echo, reflecting on their time together at the Etihad Stadium.
"Everyone at City was talking about Sturridge as an exciting young player who had a big future ahead of him.
"When he came into the first-team squad, he made a big impression. He had great pace, great feet and could finish.
"It was just a shame that a couple of injuries set him back. After that the situation at City changed dramatically with the club being bought out.
"Suddenly, City were spending a lot of money bringing in players and Sturridge found his game-time limited.
"I certainly wouldn't say he has failed at the clubs he's been at so far. City wanted to keep Sturridge and it was his decision to leave.
"It was a big step going to Chelsea and it took him a while to adjust. But it doesn't help a young player when your manager is changing all the time.
"When he went to Bolton on loan two years ago and got a run of games he showed what he's capable of by scoring a lot of goals for a struggling side.
"All the uncertainty and upheaval at Chelsea certainly didn't help his career and sometimes you need a change of scenery.
"He could have stayed at Chelsea but he wanted a fresh challenge. He wanted to play more regularly."
Sturridge has found the net on each of his three Liverpool appearances so far, also exciting fans and observers alike with early signs of a partnership with Luis Suarez.
Hamann continued: "It's still early days but he has made a real impact.
"What I like is that he has said all the right things. He clearly wants to be here and is hungry to do well.
"He appreciates the opportunity he has been given and seems determined to take it. It looks like his head and his heart are here.
"Now he has a manager in Brendan Rodgers who believes in him and the great thing for Liverpool is that Sturridge is still young. He could prove to be a tremendous signing.
"The introduction of Sturridge has given Liverpool something they've been lacking - that bit of pace to really stretch teams.
"It makes such a difference as everyone in the team then gets more time on the ball. They exploited that so well against Norwich.
"Sometimes you don't have to work at a partnership, sometimes it just clicks straightaway, and the understanding between Sturridge and Suarez for the second goal was something special.
"They complement each other well with Suarez dropping off deeper into the space. It's very encouraging."
Another player among the goals at the weekend was Jordan Henderson, who thrashed an accurate drive into the corner from the edge of the area to break the deadlock.
But the 22-year-old must do that on a more regular basis to maintain his spot in the side, according to Hamann.
He added: "There's no doubt that Henderson has ability but it's a case of transferring that onto the pitch.
"He's got a great engine and is a decent passer of the ball but if he wants to keep his place then he needs to add goals to his game.
"We have been lacking goals from midfield this season. Steven Gerrard has got a few but no-one else in midfield has been scoring.
"With the way Liverpool will play now with Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge up front there are three places behind them in midfield.
"Stevie will start and so will Lucas, who has been playing well since he came back from injury.
"If Henderson wants to hold down that other spot then he needs to be contributing more often.
"He should take a lot of confidence from that goal against Norwich as it was a tremendous strike. I hope he builds on that now."
, dietmar hamann
, jordan henderson
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