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Rodgers glad to have Sturridge back


Seeing Daniel Sturridge, pictured, back in action was a relief for Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers

Seeing Daniel Sturridge, pictured, back in action was a relief for Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers

Seeing Daniel Sturridge, pictured, back in action was a relief for Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers insists expectations still need to be handled carefully regarding Daniel Sturridge but he was delighted the fit-again striker is back and scoring.

The England international ended a five-month injury absence by coming off the bench to score the Reds' second in a 2-0 win against West Ham after Raheem Sterling had opened the scoring early in the second half.

Sturridge's return has been long-awaited with the side struggling for a cutting edge and while Rodgers is keen for the 25-year-old to be held up as a solution to all their problems he admits it is a relief to see him scoring again.

"It was nice for him. He has been out for a long time and worked very hard," he said.

"When he is in that area of the pitch he has shown he is lethal and it was a great first touch and then he has great power off both sides and it was a wonderful finish. I am delighted for him.

"He has come back into the fold but it is just managing that integration into the team but I know he is excited about coming back.

"But it was better him scoring than not scoring because if he doesn't everyone is looking at him wondering when he will get his first goal."

Rodgers rested captain Steven Gerrard as a precaution after he reported a tight hamstring after 120 minutes against Chelsea in their midweek Capital One Cup semi-final defeat but said the midfielder would be available for the FA Cup replay at Bolton on Wednesday.

The team coped comfortably in his absence, even withstanding a physical barrage from Hammers striker Andy Carroll which saw Emre Can and Lazar Markovic caught in the face by forearms.

"The first one looked like the centre-forward was jumping up and he has got ahead of Emre. That is Andy's game, physicality is a big part, but I thought our players were great in how they dealt with it," added the Reds boss.

"The team stood up to the aerial duels very well, pressed the game well and they got their rewards for that."

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce said their problems began before the match with injuries and selection issues and that continued into the game.

He left out striker Diafra Sakho after being advised to as the row with Senegal, who have reportedly complained to FIFA after he missed the African Nations Cup of Nations with a back injury but then played for his club, continues while the expected return of his countryman Cheikhou Kouyate was delayed after he reported a back injury on his arrival in the country.

Allardyce also discovered the deal for Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher had collapsed this morning and to compound his issues, Winston Reid, Carroll and James Collins were all injured at Anfield.

"With Sakho it is down to the situation we are in with FIFA," said Allardyce.

"While it is happening it is not conducive for us to be putting him on the field until it is resolved sadly.

"If you speak to the lad you would know how angry and disappointed he is at being denied the opportunity to play football when it is not our fault.

"We have covered all the rules and regulations but at this moment in time it is sensible to do the right thing and not get involved any more - that is what I was told yesterday.

"That was coupled with us going to great lengths to get Kouyate back from the African Nations Cup only for him to tell us he is injured.

"We were expecting, due to our circumstances, for him to be available off the bench."

On Fletcher Allardyce added: "Fletcher broke down on negotiations this morning. I really don't know (what will happen) at this moment in time."

The West Ham boss cannot wait for the transfer window to close, however.

"There is so much going on at the club at the minute - thank God the window is shutting as it is a disaster as we all know," he added.

"It creates lots of problems for all managers; (claims) you are trying to buy players everywhere else when you are not trying to buy them.

"The sooner it shuts the better. Whether we get Fletcher or not it is about the window being a really huge distraction for us all."

PA Media