New king of the KOP

He is synonymous with Liverpool's glorious era.

The trademark moustache may be long gone, but the mere mention of Ian Rush continues to evoke memories of the glory days when the Reds were the dominant force in England.

His trophy inventory with the Merseyside club comprises two European Cups, five Division One titles, three FA Cups and five League Cups.

It was in the penalty box where he was known to be one of the true masters of the predatory art, and he has, in his two stints at Liverpool, forged several lethal strike partnerships.

But the one with Kop favourite Kenny Dalglish stood out.

And Rush told The New Paper in an exclusive phone interview earlier in the week that he sees shades of Dalglish in Daniel Sturridge.

Sturridge, 24, is Liverpool's most outstanding performer this season.

There are similarities between Sturridge and Dalglish, as Rush, scorer of 346 goals in 660 Liverpool appearances, pointed out.

When asked if Sturridge reminded him of a younger him, Rush said: "I don't find him in any way similar to the player I was.

"He is more like a Kenny Dalglish, really. He's agile, he brings people into play.

"And he seems to have this ability to score goals from anywhere."

Sturridge has started the season in sizzling form, having found the net six times in seven league outings.

The return of Luis Suarez from suspension last month has given the Reds an even sharper edge up front.

The Uruguayan, the club's best player last season, has scored three goals in two EPL games.

But rumours of Suarez still wanting to leave Anfield continue to surface.

Rush believes that Liverpool must convince him to stay if they are to maintain their charge and get back to where they belong - the top four.

Said Rush, who turns 52 tomorrow: "It's very important for Liverpool to hang on to Suarez if they want to be successful. It will be a big blow for them if he leaves.

"If they want to finish in the top four, they can't let him go.

Champions League

"Getting into the Champions League at the end of this season will make it so much easier to persuade him to stay."

Qualifying for Europe's top club competition is a possibility, he added, but Rush also warned against reading too much into their great start to the campaign.

He said: "It's still too early. But it's a great start.

"They have the points on the board. Now, they have to focus on maintaining the run and then look at staying in the top four.

"It's a bonus for them that they are not playing in the Europa League, as that would mean less midweek games. They can therefore focus on the league.

"Realistically, with the start they have had, they must be looking at the top four."


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