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Sturridge return boosts Reds

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11 Aug 2013 15:46:53

Sturridge return boosts Reds

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has welcomed one striker back into his squad and shortly hopes to be able to do the same with another.

England international Daniel Sturridge made his first appearance of the summer on Saturday when he returned from an ankle injury sustained in May to play 45 minutes in a pre-season friendly against Celtic.

The 23-year-old's return will be a welcome boost for Rodgers given the ongoing furore surrounding Luis Suarez.

The Uruguayan has been told to apologise by Rodgers in the wake of his repeated attempts to force a move from the club amid interest from Arsenal, and has been training away from the first-team squad.

"Initially there will be a recognition that (there needs to be) an apology to his team-mates and the club," said Rodgers when asked on Saturday what Suarez needed to do next.

"I have seen him over a period of time and I know it is not the Luis Suarez we know and I have to protect the fans and the players because they deserve more than that."

Even if Suarez stays, Sturridge's return is timely with the South American banned for the first six games of the season after biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic during the last campaign.

Asked about Sturridge, Rodgers said: "I thought he was excellent. He made a difference when he came on with that power and pace and that link-up play with (Philippe) Coutinho was great.

"He is working hard to get fit and after those 45 minutes we have a behind-closed-doors game in midweek and we'll assess him after that."

The loss to Celtic was Liverpool's only defeat in seven pre-season friendlies and only the second goal they had conceded.


PA

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