Daniel Sturridge, the Liverpool striker, is finally ready to end his injury anguish in an effort to transform his club’s season.
Manager Brendan Rodgers says Sturridge will add a new attacking dimension to his side after returning from hip surgery. Sturridge has trained well over the last week and providing there is no negative reaction in the next 48 hours will be named in the squad to face Norwich City on Sunday.
Bereft of attacking options for so long, Rodgers hopes the pairing of Sturridge and Christian Benteke will ease the pressure on him following back-to-back league defeats.
“Daniel has come back with a real hunger to succeed. He’s looked really powerful and fast – his quality is there for all to see,” said Rodgers.
“He looks a different level of player and when you have that fit available and strong, it can take your game to a new dimension. If I can get players back and keep them fit it can be really exciting for us.”
Sturridge barely featured last season after being hurt playing for England. He suffered a succession of calf and thigh problems, limiting him to eight Premier League starts.
It’s hoped Benteke and Sturridge will form a lethal partnership
After spending last Christmas recuperating in the United States, medics from the Boston Red Sox finally traced the source of the recurring issues to Sturridge’s hip.
Liverpool now hope Sturridge is in the right frame of mind to play again.
“Being able to penetrate is something we are looking at within the team,” said Rodgers.
“Of the last 19 games, in 17 of them we have only scored one goal (or less).
Brendan Rodgers is delighted to have Sturridge back
“When you look at that cold fact it tells you that we have to be better with our creativity and part of that is having that bravery to take people on, take a risk, and make individual actions that might not come off but has us in an aggressive mindset.”
A potent partnership between Sturridge and Benteke is essential for a side that has managed to score only three times in five league games so far.
“I have been very impressed with how they played in training. They have power, pace and different ways to score goals,” said Rodgers.
“When you have that quality in your team it sparks off the rest of the players.”
In addition to Sturridge, Jordan Henderson has not been ruled out after treatment on a heel problem. Henderson is desperate to play after missing the last three games.
Mamadou Sakho is expected to start against Norwich
Rodgers Is mulling over whether to tweak his formation again as Mamadou Sakho looks destined to retain his place after skippering the side in a 1-1 draw with Bordeaux.
Having started the season out the team, Sakho signed a new five year deal on Friday. It will keep him at Anfield until 2020.
Sakho has not played in the Premier League since a 6-1 loss to Stoke last May.
“l’m a soldier form Liverpool, that’s how it is. When I’m called to play, I can be relied on,” said Sakho.
“I’m always ready.”
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