In the buildup to the meeting with West Ham United at Anfield later today, Liverpool supporters around the world got a pleasant surprise when pursuing the pictures of the Reds going through their pre-match paces earlier in the week with smiling striker Daniel Sturridge back among the group.
Although the 25-year old kept us up to date on his recovery after undergoing hip surgery back in May, seeing him training and running drills at Melwood trumps any social media post by a long-shot. Plagued by muscle injuries throughout the campaign, the Reds hit-man made only 18-appearances for the club last season, scoring four goals in the process — the exact same amount that Rickie Lambert, Mario Balotelli and Fabio Borini mustered between the three of them.
While the media are speculating that he’s aiming to be back in action in time for Liverpool’s showdown with bitter rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford in mid-September, boss Brendan Rodgers has taken a far more abstract, non-committal approach to a return date with the striker’s previous history of breaking down just before the crucial moment no doubt tempering his response.
“There’s no timeline on Daniel. He has obviously been away working in America. He has come back and it’s just about him working hard now to get somewhere near the level of the group. There’s no time on it,” explained the Northern Irishman. “He came back and looks well – he’s really excited and happy to be back among his teammates. We’ll just have to take that week on week, rather than put any sort of pressure on a time for him.”