England forward Daniel Sturridge is due to fill the void left by colleague Luis Suarez when Liverpool face Newcastle at St. James’s Park on Saturday.
The ex-Chelsea man scored one and made the other against his former club at Anfield last weekend as the Reds fought back twice to draw 2-2.
Coach Brendan Rodgers was full of praise for his January signing, insisting that he will only get better under a more regular training regime at Melwood.
“The success for Daniel will be making sure we can get him out on the training field every day,” he told the official Liverpool website.
“He’s only been here a short time, but in the times he has trained and then gone out and played, he’s shown he is one of the top strikers in the country.”
Sturridge has scored six goals in 12 matches since swapping Stamford Bridge for the Kop, but has yet to have a run of games due to minor injuries.
Rodgers was keen to alleviate some pressure from the 23-year-old’s shoulders though, by insisting goals should come from other sources too.
“There’s a plan going forward for the team – we have to keep progressing,” he said.
“That’s about the team showing their solidarity on the field and making sure that one player doesn’t feel that burden.”
Suspended Suarez has scored 30 goals in total for the five-time European champions, and there is suggestion from some quarters that Liverpool will be toothless without the Uruguayan.
But despite his 10-match ban, ex-Swansea gaffer Rodgers denies the club has exiled his star player.
Rodgers explained: “I said to the players the other day, whatever happens with Luis, there’s a plan for him to make sure he’s a part of the group and doesn’t feel isolated.”
It remains to be seen if Sturridge is capable of adequately replacing the controversial talent, but the Newcastle match presents him with an opportunity to stake his claim.
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