Rodgers defends fit-again Sturridge

13 September 2013 06:46

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has leapt to the defence of striker Daniel Sturridge by insisting there is no club-versus-country conflict.

Sturridge, August's Premier League player of the month after scoring in the Reds' first three matches, missed both England's World Cup qualifiers with a thigh strain.

However, he is expected to be fit for Monday evening's return to league action at Swansea.

But Rodgers, himself celebrating a manager of the month award after guiding Liverpool to the top of a fledgling table with a 100 per cent record, stressed nothing should be read into that.

Sturridge took to Twitter earlier in the week to clarify comments made in an interview in which he said he was more worried about putting in good performances for the Anfield side after criticism on the social networking site.

"He was obviously disappointed to miss out on the England games. He wanted to play for England and I felt sorry for him," said Rodgers.

"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.

Source: PA