Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge has been called upon to remain positive and display “mental toughness”, with club legend Ian Rush confident the goals will come.
The England international drew another blank on Wednesday as the Reds crashed out of the EFL Cup at the semi-final stage.
Sturridge was singled out for criticism by some sections of the Anfield support, while former defender Jamie Carragher told Sky Sports of his midweek performance: “When he plays and he does not score you are basically down to 10 men because he does not offer anything else.”
The 27-year-old has now failed to find the target in his last five appearances and has only six for the season across all competitions.
Rush, though, believes there are still aspects of his game to be positive about, with Sturridge continuing to put himself in a position to score goals, which suggests that his confidence has not been rocked to the point of giving up.
He said in the Liverpool Echo: “If you lose confidence and you stop getting in them positions, then there’s a problem.
“That’s why there’s mental toughness that’s needed now to still get in those areas. It doesn’t matter if you miss 10, you’re doing something right because you’re in that positions.
“The worst things I’ve seen with strikers is they’ll do it twice (miss) and they won’t get in that position again, they shy away from that.
“Keep getting in those positions and your luck will change – on another day Daniel would have scored. You can’t criticise him for missing because he’s done something right to get in the right position and if he keeps doing that the time will come when he gets three chances, scores three goals and everyone will forget about this.
“It’s about being positive and having that mental toughness.”
While Sturridge’s long-term future at Anfield remains uncertain, Liverpool have been able to tie key playmaker Philippe Coutinho to a new contract – with Rush delighted to see a man who did not look cut out for the Premier League upon his arrival committing to the Reds.
He added: “He’s young and he’s still improving. He’s adapted really well to English football.