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Sturridge motivated by rival fan 'banter'

Liverpool's in-form striker Daniel Sturridge has warned opposing fans that shouting abuse will only inspire him to increase his goal tally, he told the Liverpool Echo.

• Delaney: Sturridge strikes point

Sturridge scored his first hat-trick for the club as they won 3-1 at Fulham in the Premier League on Sunday.

He was jeered throughout the game by Fulham fans because he used to play for their West London neighbours Chelsea before moving to Anfield for £12 million in January.

But the 23-year-old striker, who has scored 11 goals in 12 starts for Liverpool, insists that the barracking from the stands motivates him to do better.

"I loved that and I hope fans do that in every game," Sturridge said. "It doesn't really matter what the fans say to me. Whether they talk or not, it means nothing.

"I don't think they understand it. I love the banter. I live for that. I hope the fans continue giving me abuse out there."

Sturridge admitted that his three-and-a-half years at Stamford Bridge was a frustrating experience, as he had to compete with Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres for games and frequently found himself out of the team.

But he believes that his time at Chelsea has made him a stronger player mentally.

"I am a lot more peaceful and I'm playing with a clear mind," he said. "Before there were a lot of things going on and mentally it was hard for me. It's difficult when you do well and then don't play the next game as you feel: 'What more can I do?'.

"But I'm glad all that happened. God made that happen and showed me how I need to be strong mentally.

"Being strong mentally is the one thing that can separate you from anyone else. When I worked with Didier Drogba at Chelsea, the one thing he had above everybody was his mental strength.

"I learned a lot from working with him about what it takes to be a top player. I hope I'll become one. "It's a fantastic feeling to score a hat-trick. Hopefully I'll have a long career ahead of me with Liverpool."

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