Saturday 7 December 2019

Liverpool reeling as injured Sturridge out until new year

Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge is expected to be out for up to six weeks having suffered his latest training ground injury setback. Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire
Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge is expected to be out for up to six weeks having suffered his latest training ground injury setback. Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire

Chris Bascombe

Liverpool have confirmed that Daniel Sturridge has sustained a new thigh injury which will keep him out of action until the new year.

Sturridge is expected to be out for up to six weeks having suffered his latest training ground setback.

As well as key Premier League fixtures over the Christmas period, it means the striker will have played no part in the group stages of the club's Champions League campaign. Sturridge was hoping to return to the Liverpool starting line-up on Sunday, when Brendan Rodgers's side head to Crystal Palace in the Premier League.

Instead, he sustained a thigh injury in training on Tuesday with a scan on Wednesday confirming the club's fear of another period on the sidelines.

It is not a recurrence of the injury Sturridge suffered on international duty last August, making it the third muscle problem since his last appearance for the club.

Rodgers must now try to ensure that Mario Balotelli, Rickie Lambert and Fabio Borini find their goal-scoring form - none has managed to find the net in the Premier League this season.

As well as the trip this weekend to Palace, Sturridge will miss Liverpool's key European ties with Ludogorets and Basle, and league meetings with Manchester United and Arsenal. In a statement, the club said: "Liverpool Football Club confirmed scans have revealed Daniel Sturridge has sustained a new thigh injury. The player will remain unavailable for selection but will be monitored and assessed during his recovery."

Rodgers has also been sweating on the fitness of Balotelli and the midfielder Jordan Henderson ahead of the trip to Palace.

His longer-term dilemma is whether to seek a striking reinforcement when the January window opens.

Liverpool are resigned to the fact that a move to bring on-loan Divock Origi to Merseyside from Lille six months early is unlikely to succeed, but with the young player a key part of plans for next year there may be some debate as to whether it is wise to invest heavily on a striker to cure short-term ills.

Rodgers will be assessing whether the enduring fitness concerns surrounding Sturridge - and the con-tinued difficulties of Balotelli justifying his £16m gamble - mean that another centre-forward is an immediate priority.

Liverpool have gone from being one of the most prolific teams in Europe last season to a side who have toiled in front of goal since -Sturridge has been absent, leaving them currently in 11th in the table but still in position to mount a challenge for a top-four place. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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