Rodgers reveals Sturridge fitness boost after Bolton stalemate
Brendan Rodgers will soon be able to boost his Liverpool attack with Daniel Sturridge after watching them draw a blank in the FA Cup.
Bolton Wanderers were able to battle their way to a 0-0 draw at Anfield, earning a fourth-round replay as Rodgers' men came up against visiting goalkeeper Adam Bogdan in inspired form behind a disciplined defence.
Sturridge netted 21 goals in 29 Premier League appearances last season, but has not featured for his club since August's 3-0 victory a Tottenham due to struggles with thigh and hamstring injuries.
But the England striker will return to training with his Liverpool team-mates on Sunday and could play a part in next week's League Cup semi-final second leg against Chelsea.
Whether or not the 25-year-old plays a part in a tie that is finely poised at 1-1, Rodgers insists Sturridge will be ready for Liverpool's next Premier League outing at home to West Ham.
"He's done all his rehab he's at a really good level of fitness," Rodgers told BT Sport
"He'll only have a couple of days; we'll see how he is for Chelsea.
"He'll be ready for West Ham - whether he starts or not."
Despite the Bolton result meaning just one win in their past six outings at Anfield, Rodgers hailed his players' efforts and believes the replay at the Macron Stadium could be beneficial to the likes of Sturridge and others on their return from injury problems.
"I was pleased," he added. "Obviously you want to win but we've got players coming back from injury so that [the replay] gives them a chance to get some game time as well."
One player not among the Anfield walking wounded is Mario Balotelli.
The enigmatic Italy international has been sidelined by a hamstring problem, but Rodgers confirmed that he is back to fitness.
Speaking at his post-match media conference, Rodgers added that fellow forwards Rickie Lambert and Fabio Borini were selected ahead of Balotelli in Saturday's matchday squad on account of superior performances in training.
"If you can't press, you can't be a part of the team. It doesn't matter who the player is," he said.
"[It's] tough for Mario, obviously the team is doing very well. He probably sees the real Liverpool over these last six or seven weeks and he understands just what is required to get into the team.
"Of course, I'm judging it every day in training as well. Mario is exactly the same as every other player.
"There's no special treatment for anyone. If you're performing every day in training. Fabio Borini, Rickie Lambert, they're working tirelessly for me in training and when they go on they've contributed.
"I have to judge it on that. I've had a chat with Mario. He knows exactly what's required to be in this squad before he can be in the team.
"He is available, like the rest of the team."