Liverpool Team News: Rodgers Offers Sturridge Update + Trio Set To Return
Brendan Rodgers has offered an update on the fitness of Daniel Sturridge ahead of Liverpool’s FA Cup clash with Aston Villa while two key men will return.
Liverpool will look to book their place in the final of the FA Cup when they take on Aston Villa at Wembley on Sunday afternoon.
Ahead of the game, Brendan Rodgers has been speaking to the media at his pre-match press conference and has given Liverpoolfc.com a team news and injury update.
Reports in this mornings newspapers suggested that Daniel Sturridge was struggling to be fit in time for Sunday’s clash as he continues to nurse a hip injury that he aggravated against Blackburn in their quarter final replay earlier this month.
However, Rodgers confirmed he will give the striker every opportunity to prove he’s ready and will check on his fitness after training on Saturday ahead of their trip to the capital.
The Reds boss told the clubs website:
“We’ll give Dan every possibility to be fit for the game.”
“We’ll see how he is tomorrow and then we’ll take it from there.”
It would be a real blow if Sturridge was ruled out against Villa and it would cap a frustrating season that’s been plagued by injuries. The striker has managed just 18 appearances in all competitions so far, so I’m sure he’ll be desperate to take part at Wembley this weekend to try and end the season on a high note.
If the 25-year-old misses out then Raheem Sterling could continue to spearhead the attack having got himself on the scoresheet during Monday’s 2-0 victory over Newcastle.
Mario Balotelli could return to the squad after training this week following injury and illness, but Steven Gerrard and Martin Skrtel are certain to be back in contention after serving their three-match bans.
Gerrard was given a straight red just seconds after coming off the bench against Man Utd last month and he’s managed just 27 minutes of football since suffering a hamstring problem against Tottenham on February 10.
However, Rodgers has no concerns over his match sharpness as he revealed that Gerrard took part in a behind-closed-doors friendly at Melwood this week to ensure he was up-to-speed.
“He’s [Gerrard] definitely ready,”
“We played a behind-closed-doors game here on Monday, which he and a few of the other players that have been out played in.
“Steven’s fine. The most important thing is his availability. He’s a special footballer, Steven, and Wembley is somewhere he knows very well. So whether he plays or doesn’t play, he’ll be a very important member of the squad for us on the day.
“He’s a special player. He still is. He’s been, throughout his time here, an incredible player who has, in the main, in the big games, produced big goals and big moments.
“He always produces a great contribution to the team. So the most important thing was having him back. But he knows Wembley very well and he’s someone who has got that special quality.”
It will be interesting to see if Gerrard is brought straight back into the starting eleven but judging by Rodgers’ comments, he does seem to suggest that his skipper will be playing a key role this weekend.
Skrtel is almost certain to be restored to the defence with Dejan Lovren likely to make-way if Rodgers sticks with a flat back four.
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