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Rodgers in search of Sturridge answers

22 November 2014, 06:11

London - Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said Friday he was determined to get to the bottom of the chronic injury issue which will keep star striker Daniel Sturridge sidelined until the new year.

The 24-year-old has not played for the Merseyside club since August 31 after sustaining an initial thigh strain on England duty.

That was followed by a calf problem suffered in his first training session back at Liverpool.

Now a fresh thigh strain this week ruled Sturridge out for a further six weeks.

Also read: Arsenal to move for Reds target

It is the ninth injury on the same thigh the 25-year-old has had in his career.

Sturridge recently suggested his injury woes could be hereditary as his father, a trainee at Birmingham, and two uncles Dean and Simon, both professional footballers, had the same problems.

"It is extremely unfair. He has just been extremely unfortunate," Rodgers told a news conference. "The last time he played was August (31) and he is a player who does not want to be out for this length of time.

"There is no-one more frustrated than him at this present time. I spoke to him today and he was as down as I have seen anyone in terms of not being able to help the team.

"I think now is the time for him and us to go away to see what more we can do to get him onto the pitch consistently.

"He is world-class talent but he can only fulfil that if he is playing games - but there is no-one who wants that more than Daniel; he wants to be working and playing.

"We need to look to find the answers to allow him over a consistent period of time to perform here at Liverpool.

"Daniel has had up to nine injuries on that same thigh over a period time, not just over the last six or seven months."

'Can't cry about it'

Rodgers added: "We have to look across his time as a young player and see where we can find ways to get him out there playing."

Liverpool, last season's runners-up, are 11th in the Premier League ahead of this weekend's resumption of matches following the break for international fixtures.

Sunday sees the Reds travel to Crystal Palace for their first match at Selhurst Park since an extraordinary 3-3 draw in London ended their title ambitions last season.

"With him (Sturridge) being out we need to refocus on the players who are fit and available," Rodgers said.

"We can't cry about it, we just need to work really hard as a team with the players who are fit and look to get results."

Fitness doubts remain over Italy striker Mario Balotelli, who returned early from international duty with a hamstring injury.

The former Manchester City forward has yet to score a Premier League goal since his his 16 million ($26 million) move from AC Milan.

Liverpool's misfiring striker has failed to fill the gap left by Luis Suarez, who scored 31 goals last season, following the Uruguayan's transfer to Barcelona.

Rodgers said Rickie Lambert was set for more Liverpool action following the England forward's transfer from Southampton.

"A lot of the focus this season has been on players who are injured and a player who is no longer here," Rodgers said. "I need to ensure my time is devoted to the players who are fit and available.

"Rickie will get an opportunity now, we have so many games in an exciting period and he will feature in those heavily."



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