He may have made his first start since the end of August as Liverpool downed Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday night, but Reds assistant boss Colin Pascoe confirmed that the striker Daniel Sturridge still isn’t fit enough to make it through 90-minutes.
The 25-year old, who has spent much of the season sidelined with various muscle injuries, won a penalty for Liverpool’s second goal and caused havoc throughout his 75-minutes on the field, but the Reds weren’t about to risk him picking up another injury and replaced him with Mario Balotelli — who went on to bag the winner. Although Sturridge was pleading with the coaching staff not to take him off, Pascoe said they weren’t about to take any risks with him.
“He is desperate to play. He didn’t want to come off against Tottenham on Tuesday. He kept saying: ‘Don’t take me off,’ said the Welshman, standing in for Reds boss Brendan Rodgers ahead of their meeting with Crystal Palace in the FA Cup on Saturday. “But we knew how far we could push him. Anything more and he might have got injured. We can’t push him too much at the moment. We will monitor him and see how he is.”
Sturridge could be in line for his second start since returning to the squad with Raheem Sterling, who missed the meeting with Spurs after picking up a knock in the Merseyside Derby on Saturday, to be given a late fitness check ahead of the trip to Selhurst Park. Regardless, the Reds will continue to closely monitor the fitness of the 25-year old. “He’s not far off being able to play a full 90 minutes, but we will have to talk to the sports science team” continued Pascoe. “Given what has gone on over the last five months, we have to be careful.”