With the chips well and truly down at Anfield following an awful start to the season, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has donned the war paint regarding his prize striker.
Thanks to an injury sustained during England’s last friendly with Norway at Wembley, Daniel Sturridge has missed Liverpool’s entire September schedule, a period which has seen the Reds gain a solitary point from three Premier League matches.
Now Sturridge, who bagged 21 top-flight goals last term, is on the cusp of a return to action, his manager is understandably unwilling to let his man join up with the Three Lions for two eminently winnable qualifiers, especially with a hugely significant match against West Brom up next.
Rodgers said: “If we’re talking about players being picked for international duty then they need to be fit. Daniel (Sturridge) certainly won’t be fit.
“He won’t be fit to play for England whether he’s available for the weekend or not.”
Considering the circumstances in which Sturridge was sidelined and the fact Roy Hodgson’s team only face also-rans San Marino and Estonia, it is easy to sympathise with Rodgers’ standpoint.
The news may not be so great for the visiting Baggies though, who despite being in great form with three consecutive wins in all competitions, would have preferred to swerve a fit-again Sturridge.
Given the two-week recovery gap which follows the fixture, Liverpool will be doing everything possible to reintegrate their best source of goals, and 3/1-shot to score first, back into the line-up against West Brom.
The former Chelsea man was on the scoresheet against the midlands outfit home and away last season, which included rounding off a Luis Suarez-inspired 4-1 thumping at Anfield.
While the Reds continue to feel the pinch in Suarez’s absence, getting Sturridge back and raring to go should at least increase their 2/5-rated chances of grabbing a vital three points before the international break so rudely interrupts.
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