Alberto Moreno praises return of Daniel Sturridge

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Alberto Moreno has hailed the return of Daniel Sturridge and called him "a very important member" of the Liverpool squad.

Moreno arrived at Anfield last August for £12 million from Sevilla, however has not had many opportunities to play alongside Sturridge after the former Chelsea man picked up a calf injury whilst on England duty in September.

The return

Sturridge returned after a five-month lay-off during the Reds 2-0 victory over West Ham United last month and netted the second goal of the game - his first since the opening day of the Premier League season.

The 25-year-old also struck during Liverpool's 2-1 fifth round FA Cup win against Crystal Palace on Saturday, firing his volley past Julian Speroni to start a come-back for his side. After his goal at Selhurst Park, Sturridge performed his usual dancing celebration and Moreno was quick to join in with the act - despite the pair barely having played together.

And the Spanish defender has praised the impact that Sturridge has made on the Liverpool team.

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"You just have to watch him play to see how important he is," Moreno told

"After being injured for so long, he scored a goal with his second touch [against West Ham]. You can see the type of footballer he is from that.

"Sturridge is a top player and everyone on the team was wishing he returned as soon as possible - and he's done brilliantly. He's a very important player for the team."

"Sturridge is a top player and everyone on the team was wishing he returned as soon as possible - and he's done brilliantly. He's a very important player for the team"

Goalscorer Missed

There is no denying that the Merseyside outfit were not clinical enough in-front of goal whilst Sturridge was on the sidelines. Mario Balotelli lead the Liverpool front-line for large periods of that time, however failed to adopt to leading the attack on his own and managed just two goals during the spell, none of those coming in the Premier League.

Likewise, Rickie Lambert and Fabio Borini contributed just three goals between them when they were given rare starts.

Over the Christmas period, Rodgers ditched all three strikers and shifted Raheem Sterling into the role and the 20-year-old did well playing in a position he was not used to. Sterling offered fantastic pace and movement, but sometimes his finishing did not cut the mustard.

Busy period ahead

Just over three months remain this season and Rodgers has huge ambitions for his side. Liverpool have qualified for the FA Cup quarter-final for the first time since 2012 and meet Blackburn Rovers at Anfield next month.

Rodgers has stated how the aim for his side come May is a piece of silverware and with Chelsea, Manchester City and Southampton all out of the world's oldest cup competition and Manchester United meeting Arsenal in the last eight, the tournament looks Liverpool's for the taking.

The Reds also have a busy campaign in the Europa League starting against Besiktas at Anfield on Thursday and the prize of a Champions League spot for the winner makes the prize all the more appealing.

Added dimension

With Sturridge operating the forward-line, it gives Liverpool more options throughout the team. Sterling is capable of operating just behind the striker or out wide, likewise Lazar Markovic and Jordan Ibe.

As witnessed on Saturday, Rodgers can change his 3-4-3 system and play two strikers up-front. Balotelli joined Sturridge at the spear-head of the Liverpool attack for just the second time and, much like the Reds' 3-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur in August, the two linked well.

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Premier League
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