Brendan Rodgers moves to avert club-versus-country row as Daniel Sturridge prepares to return for Liverpool

The striker missed England's crucial World Cup qualifiers

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has leapt to the defence on under-fire England striker Daniel Sturridge after the 24-year-old is at risk of becoming embroiled in club-versus-country row.

Sturridge missed the 4-0 victory over Moldova as well as the goalless draw with Ukraine in Kiev on Tuesday, but he looks set to feature in Liverpool’s fixture at Swansea on Monday night after recovering from the thigh injury he had before the international break.

The striker was awarded the Premier League player of the month earlier today, along with Rodgers who picked up the manager award, and the Northern Irishman has attempted to dismiss any row by claiming nothing should be read into his return.

Sturridge had to clarify comments he made earlier this week after he said he was more worried about putting in good performances for his club side rather, taking to Twitter to answer criticism he had received on the social media site.

"He was obviously disappointed to miss out on the England games. He wanted to play for England and I felt sorry for him," Rodgers said in defence of the Premier League joint top-goalscorer alongside Christian Benteke and Olivier Giroud.

"He came here first and foremost to do as well as he could for Liverpool knowing if he did well his aim was to be England striker.

"The medical experts made the decision, not Daniel Sturridge.

"He left the Manchester United game (on September 1) injured and went away and the medical staff at England deemed him not quite fit enough for the first game and they were perfectly happy he was not going to play.

"He returned and there was a slight improvement but Roy (Hodgson) and his staff have to make a decision if he's going to be available (for the second match in Ukraine) and at that stage he wasn't.

"But by the time we play on Monday it will be nearly two weeks and for a grade one strain, experts who know better than I do say it is perfectly reasonable to be back playing in that timescale.

"But he should not be held up, if he does play on Monday, as being someone who has turned down his country because that is not the case at all.

"It will have been nearly a week (since England's second game) and with the injury he had it gives him a chance to play.

"If it was a Saturday game he may well have struggled but that extra bit of time gives him a chance and I would suspect he will hopefully be fit, although he won't be 100 per cent fit."

Rodgers was willing to give Sturridge a chance after he rarely featured for Chelsea, and Rodgers admits it was a risk that he was willing to take having seen that the England international was a natural goalscorer when given the opportunity.

"You never know how it is going to go but I felt if you gave him an opportunity....I think he has shown in his career if he is given the opportunity he is a natural goalscorer," said the Reds boss.

"At this stage of his career, aged 24, he has all the things to his game to be a top striker.

"Since coming here he has had the confidence he is going to play and we work on him on a daily basis - on and off the field - to make him the best he can be.

"It is also a credit to him because he has committed himself to the challenges of playing as one of the leading strikers at one of the biggest clubs in the world, which isn't easy.

"To get a return of 16 goals in 20 games is what you have to do as a striker.

"Standards are set throughout European football now and if you want to be a top striker you have to get in the goals.

"I am not surprised but it is always pleasant when they come in and do so well."

Sturridge has scored five goals in four games this season so far Sturridge has scored five goals in four games this season so far  

However, Swansea boss Michael Laudrup has questioned Sturridge’s availability – or non-availability as is the case with England – in a week that has been dominated with talk of improving the development of home-grown talent.

"I was a little surprised," admitted Laudrup. "We talk about a young player, a huge talent, and I am sure he would have played in a crucial game (for England) the other day.

"But he was injured and yet 48 hours later he is fit to play against us.

"I hope he plays as I want to play against Liverpool with their best players.

"But when we talk about England and young players and the importance of the game (in Ukraine), I was surprised to read less than 48 hours after such a crucial game that he is fit to play against us.

"I thought there were some rules that if you were injured you couldn't just play with your team three of four days later.

"But that's none of my business, I am just taking care of Swansea."

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Sport
Arsenal signing Calum Chambers
sportGunners complete £16m transfer of Southampton youngster
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on