Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson hailed the impact of Daniel Sturridge and believes the forward’s return brings back the club’s “fear factor”.
Sturridge started his first Premier League game since October in Sunday’s clash against Aston Villa on Sunday, scoring the first goal in a 6-0 demolition of the bottom-placed club.
The 26-year-old has battled numerous injury setbacks this season and has only featured in eight of Liverpool’s 41 fixtures in 2015-16.
But with Sturridge back up in the Liverpool line up, Henderson believes Liverpool’s fear factor has returned.
“[Sturridge] makes a huge difference,” Henderson said. “You can see in the games that he has played how much he has been missed.
“He has been brilliant since he has come back to training and is looking really sharp. Hopefully he can continue to stay fit and cause problems when he plays.
“Everyone knows how good he is but because he has been out for a while, you do forget the quality he has got and how good he actually is.
“There are lads in training who maybe haven’t seen that much of him and they have been very impressed. Then you look at him in the games with his movement. His sharpness is top drawer. He is a massive bonus for us.
Henderson added: “He definitely gives us that fear factor back. Any central defender playing against him will be wary. They know how quick he is, how sharp he is with the ball.
“He can cause anyone problems and I’m sure any centre-half in the world would be worried about coming up against him.”
Sturridge will be looking to mount a case to be included in England’s Euro 2016 plans, and Henderson believes the forward is one of the best in the business when fit and firing.
“He’s definitely one of the best. When he is firing, he is one of the best in the world, really,” Henderson said.
“He is that good. Finishing, touches, movement – he has got everything. He gets one chance and scores one goal and that is the difference.
“His biggest problem is getting a run of games, finding consistency and just staying fit. That is the only issue. If he stays fit, he becomes world class.”