Rodgers backs Sturridge to make impact on return

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has backed Daniel Sturridge to hit the ground running when he returns from injury.

The England striker has not featured for his club since the end of August, having picked up a thigh problem while on international duty in September.

Following an initial six-week lay-off, Sturridge suffered a setback midway through October and was ruled out for a further two to four weeks.

In his absence, Liverpool have faltered somewhat up front, with Mario Balotelli having struggled on his return to the Premier League.

However, Rodgers is confident Sturridge can provide a welcome lift upon his return.

"Top players have such an influence on the team," Rodgers said.

"When you are under the cosh, you know that you have strikers who can score out of nothing. It is a big weapon.

"Sturridge is one of them. That is where we aim to get with Daniel.

"But he won't become a top European striker until he plays consistently. It doesn’t matter about potential. You have to play.

"When he comes back into the team, you will see the confidence because of the movement and the dynamic.

"But he isn’t fit and he hasn't been for a long time."