Liverpool recently crashed out of the Capital One Cup, with the Merseyside club losing to Chelsea over two legs in the semi-finals. Brendan Rodgers’ side were guilty of missing many good opportunities to stun the hosts, but failed to make the chances count.
In both legs, Chelsea barely tested goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, but they found the back of the net when it mattered most, and Liverpool are certainly missing a natural goalscorer of their own who is the difference in tight affairs.
In the second leg, the Reds boss had Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert to bring on in pursuit of a goal, which did little to change the outcome. But they will have striker Daniel Sturridge returning to the side, potentially making the bench for their weekend clash against West Ham United.
“He’ll hopefully be ready by the weekend. If he is on the bench it means he can contribute. He trained very, very well. It was as comfortable as he’s looked. All we can do is make sure he is in the best possible condition that he can be, both physically and mentally, and that will give him a chance to stay fit,” said Rodgers.
Sturridge has been out of action since the end of August. He’s scored one goal in three league games this season, which is still more than Mario Balotelli. His first 18 months with the club proved his worth, with the England international’s prolific form in front of goal exactly what Liverpool are currently missing.
10 goals in his first 14 league games following his arrival from Chelsea was a taste of things to come, with the 25-year-old netting 21 goals in 29 league games in his first full season with the Reds. This campaign has seen the Merseyside club struggle for goals with Sturridge and Luis Suarez (now of Barcelona) not being available, but the former’s return could be pivotal to their chances of success.
Form has been much improved of the club of late, but they are struggling to put away the chances that are coming their way. Sturridge needed a half-chance to get himself on the scoresheet, and that’s exactly the player Rodgers has been in need of this campaign.
His return can’t come soon enough for Liverpool, with Mario Balotelli, Rickie Lambert and Fabio Borini not coming close to filling the void that had been left after he picked up his lengthy injury.