Sturridge lifts Liverpool by returning to first-team training
Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge has declared himself "happy to be back" as he steps up his anticipated return from a long injury lay-off.
The 24-year-old has not featured for the Reds since August 31 after a thigh strain sustained on England duty was followed by a calf problem picked up in his first session back with his club.
Having spent last week finishing off his rehabilitation sessions at Melwood the striker has now returned to training, although with most of the first-team squad away with their national teams, he will not be involved in a proper full session until next week.
"Training was class. Happy to be back," Sturridge tweeted on Wednesday, having written on social media after Saturday’s defeat to Chelsea he was "looking forward to returning to full training next week".
After missing 14 matches for Liverpool the England forward is targeting a return to action when the Premier League resumes after the current break with the match at Crystal Palace on Sunday November 23.
"I’ll be ready for that one, God willing," Sturridge told BT Sport at the weekend.
"It’s the worst feeling to be honest but that’s football. Everyone picks injuries up."
During the time Sturridge has been sidelined the Reds have won just five games – two of those in the Capital One Cup – and lost seven.
P.s training was class. Happy to be back. Thank you Jesus.
— Daniel Sturridge (@D_Sturridge) November 12, 2014
Their Premier League record during that spell shows five defeats and only eight goals in seven matches as summer signings Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert have failed to fill the void.
That has seen Brendan Rodgers’ side drop to 11th in the table, 15 points behind unbeaten leaders Chelsea but still only four points off a Champions League qualification place – which remains their primary target having got back among Europe’s elite with their runners-up finish to Manchester City last season.
Sturridge’s return will be a welcome boost for Rodgers as his side seek to regain their cutting edge but former Liverpool winger Steve McManaman believes they should not put too much pressure on the striker to start delivering immediately.
"Daniel Sturridge is hopefully going to be fit and raring to go (soon) and you hope Liverpool can replicate the kind of form they displayed at Tottenham away when they won really easily against a good team," he told liverpoolfc.com.
"It’ll have a positive impact because he’s a very good footballer who scored lots of goals last year, but he’ll need time to get himself fully fit and well."