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Sturridge all Stoked up

Striker Daniel Sturridge is set to return from a lengthy absence to add firepower to Liverpool's bid for Champions League football.

A sprained ankle has sidelined the 24-year-old since he scored a last-minute equaliser in the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park on November 23.

But the timing of his return to fitness could not be better after a couple of stuttering performances against Hull and then League One Oldham in the FA Cup.

Rodgers believes the England international is ready to make an immediate impact, just as he did when he arrived from Chelsea in a £12million deal a year ago.

And the fact he scored the winner against tomorrow's opponents Stoke on the opening day of the season only adds to the feelings of a good omen.

"He has made a terrific impact since he came in here and we are working hard with him and his talent to allow that to flourish," said Rodgers.

"Over the last four to five weeks it has obviously been difficult with injuries but having these types of players back and just seeing him on the training field has been really good. To have someone of that stature and quality back in your group gives you great firepower.

"Thankfully Daniel is one who, having missed almost all of pre-season (with another ankle injury suffered on international duty), came back in, trained for 10 days and started off the season outstandingly.

"The make-up of his body is really good and he has looked after himself and looks at a good level fitness-wise.

"We don't need to rush him but we need to make sure he is ready to make an impact in the second half of the season."


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