Rodgers not expecting 'saving grace' Sturridge

Brendan Rodgers does not expect Daniel Sturridge to be Liverpool's "saving grace" as the striker nears his long-awaited return from injury.

The England striker has not featured for the Merseyside club since August, but could play some part in Saturday's Premier League clash with West Ham after impressing manager Rodgers in training this week.

Sturridge scored 24 goals in all competitions for Liverpool last season and Rodgers' side have lacked a cutting edge in his absence.

Rodgers will assess his fitness ahead of the clash with Sam Allardyce's men at Anfield, but the Liverpool boss urged against demanding too much from the former Manchester City man.

"Since he has come back from getting treatment in America he has been very upbeat and focused now working as hard as he can," the Northern Irishman said.

"In training in the last few days he has been brilliant, back to what we've seen before - dynamic, fast and strong.

"But we have to be careful because he has been out for a long time. We can't put him under pressure and expect him to be our saving grace as soon as he gets back."

He added: "We will give him another day and I'll have a chat with him to see how he feels, but certainly he looks in top-class condition."

Rodgers also remains confident that Raheem Sterling will sign a new contract soon.

"It's all in hand with his representatives," he said. "He's happy and sees his long-term future here.

"He's a real sponge for learning, he's a young player that knows he's in the right place and I'm sure it will be sorted very soon."

Liverpool, who sit eighth, are one point and one place behind West Ham, but lost 3-1 at Upton Park in September.