Sturridge finds form in friendly

13 August 2013 08:31

Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge stepped up his bid to be fit for Saturday's Premier League opener with two goals in a behind-closed-doors friendly.

The England international made only his second appearance of pre-season, having played 45 minutes of last weekend's 1-0 defeat to Celtic in Dublin.

He scored twice, both penalties, in a 3-1 win over Newcastle in a fixture arranged in order to specifically give the 23-year-old a chance to improve his match sharpness.

Sturridge sustained an ankle injury on international duty against the Republic of Ireland in May and an intense programme of rehabilitation meant he missed the club's tour of Asia and Australia.

His long-awaited return for the second half of the friendly at Dublin's Aviva Stadium injected some threat into a forward line struggling to break down their opponents' defence.

And while he could not force an equaliser, his performance raised hopes he could be ready to face Stoke at Anfield when the league campaign gets under way.

With Luis Suarez suspended for a further six matches as his 10-match ban for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic in April is carried over, and Iago Aspas - a £7million summer signing from Celta Vigo - still finding his feet in England, Sturridge's return to fitness is a timely boost for manager Brendan Rodgers.

Source: PA

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