Steven Gerrard headed in Luis Suarez’s corner to put the hosts ahead, before two Sturridge goals in three minutes.
First he collected Philippe Coutinho’s through ball and shot past Tim Howard, and netted again with a lofted finish after Kolo Toure’s long pass.
Suarez added a fourth following Phil Jagielka’s error but Sturridge then fired a spot-kick over the crossbar.
Daniel Sturridge appeared to be unhappy with Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers for taking him off after he had scored twice, and the England striker said: “I apologise if anyone was offended. “I felt I had let myself and the fans down by missing the penalty. I didn’t react to the manager, I was just disappointed with how I missed the penalty. “It’s not about myself, it’s about all the boys.”
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard: “Against Aston Villa we let the fans down and let ourselves down, it was our worst performance of the season. But every player was superb today.”
On his decision to let Daniel Sturridge take the penalty, which would have seen the striker complete his hat-trick if he had scored, Gerrard added: “I’ve scored a hat-trick against Everton and know what that feels like and I wanted Daniel to feel it. It was not to be, but it is my responsibility.
“We have two world-class forwards and Daniel was magnificent. He destroyed them in the first half.”
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers: “It was a gamble to go with two strikers but that’s the reason we took the risk. We got four goals and could’ve had six or seven. It was a brilliant demonstration of how to play under pressure.”
On Daniel Sturridge’s angry reaction to being substituted, Rodgers added: “In fairness to Daniel, he was frustrated after not scoring the penalty. We are very much a team and if anyone is unhappy we say to just keep it to yourself and speak to me the next day, but there is no problem with Daniel. He was brilliant tonight.”
Everton manager Roberto Martinez: “It does not look good for Romelu Lukaku, he picked up a bad injury. It was that type of night when everything went against us.
“For different reasons we could not maintain the normal intensity, we became exposed and were naive. We gave the ball away far too easily.
“We wanted to perform so well for the fans and we have been terrific all season. We need to bounce back straight away and perform in the manner we did before today.”
Overall it was a great win for the Reds who move to 4th on the table
Written by Steve Milne