IN-FORM LIVERPOOL striker Daniel Sturridge said he fell out of love with football during his time at Chelsea.
Sturridge won the UEFA Champions League with Chelsea in 2012 but the England striker endured a frustrating four-year spell at Stamford Bridge.
The England striker, who made 63 Premier League appearances for Chelsea, was often deployed as a winger to accommodate for star strikers Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres.
Sturridge ended his time in London in 2013, joining rivals Liverpool on a long-term deal, and he has not looked back as Brendan Rodgers’ men close in on the Premier League title with five games remaining.
Speaking to The Mirror ahead of Liverpool’s mouth-watering home clash against Manchester City, Sturridge said he was hurt by Chelsea’s lack of faith.
“At first, it was a matter of learning from the likes of Didier, and I thought I would get my opportunity sooner, but they didn’t believe in me as a centre forward,” said Sturridge, who has scored 20 league goals this season.
“They always said, ‘You’re not a centre-forward, you’re a winger’ – that’s how they saw me, but that hurt me because I’ve played down the middle all my life.
“The pitch has always been where I’ve been able to express myself the most, where I feel happiest, and I was deprived of that opportunity at Chelsea.
“There were times when I was sat at home, very upset, and I fell out of love with the game.”
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Sturridge added: “In every job, you want to be able to do what you love, and it’s the hardest thing to accept when someone takes it away from you.”
“I was scared, I wasn’t sure about the future and I’m thankful to God that I had my family behind me. In the end, I was so happy that I was able to go on loan to Bolton and prove to myself, ‘I can still do this.’
“It’s difficult when you are not playing for so long. Young players do get wrapped up when they are at a big club and they are not playing, so it’s been a whirlwind 15 months since I joined Liverpool.”