Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge could return to action for the Premier League trip to Stoke on Sunday, meaning that the famed Suarez-And-Sturridge (SAS) partnership could be reunited after spending nine matches apart.
Sturridge has been out of action since injuring ankle ligaments a training session on November 29, not long after the 3-3 Merseyside derby encounter with Everton. Despite initial fears that the England international would be out of action for up to two months, he looks set to return to action ahead of schedule, having come through an intensive outdoor session at the club’s Melwood training ground.
Sturridge made his best start to a season in the absence of Suarez while the Uruguayan completed the remainder of his 10-match ban, but it was once he returned to action that the two struck up a formidable partnership that rivals the best around – Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo the only duo to be in the same bracket – as they scored 14 goals in just seven Premier League games.
The majority of Brendan Rodgers’ squad were given the day off on Monday following the 2-0 FA Cup third round victory over Oldham Athletic, but Sturridge was in attendance at Melwood with the head of performance Glen Driscoll, going through a number of rigorous tests.
Given the timescale for the injury, Sturridge may have been doubtful for the return Merseyside derby at Goodison Park on January 28, but Rodgers could be able to pick him as early as this weekend for the trip to the Britannia.
The news will also be welcomed by England manager Roy Hodgson, who lost Theo Walcott yesterday after the Arsenal forward suffered a ruptured cruciate knee ligament in the north London derby victory over Tottenham. Walcott will miss the World Cup in Brazil barring the most miraculous of recovery’s, meaning that Sturridge will be even more relied on to link with Wayne Rooney in attack.
Liverpool also have concerns over centre-back Daniel Agger, after an initial diagnosis of cramp in his calf required a further scan to see if the injury was worse than anticipated.
Fans did see the return to action of Steven Gerrard last week, and his midfield teammate Jordan Henderson believes that a greater strength in depth plus a reduced schedule is giving the Reds a real chance at a successful title challenge.
“That possibly may be one of the factors in our improved league form,” said Henderson, who could be in-line for an England recall for the friendly against Denmark in March.
“I know when you’ve got a game on a Thursday and another at the weekend, mentally it can be tough and physically it’s demanding as well, when you have to travel long distances abroad.”