Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers hailed the return of Daniel Sturridge as a massive boost to Liverpool’s chances against Everton, while revealing Christian Benteke may make his comeback from injury for the crucial Merseyside derby clash.
The Reds were held to a disappointing 1-1 draw by Sion in the Europa League on Thursday, missing a number of chances with Sturridge rested having only recently returned from a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
The match at Goodison Park on Sunday is a vital one for Rodgers – who has come under significant pressure with the Anfield side sitting down in ninth place – and he thinks the return of Sturridge could be huge to his side’s hopes of recording victory.
“You saw Daniel’s quality last week,” said the manager. “He is at a real high level and he is important for us.
“Top players give the team confidence. Him coming back for the weekend is a massive boost for us. He has got that star quality.
“It is just about managing Daniel’s fitness. He has been out for a real long time and come back early through the work and the effort he has put in. With so many games, we just have to make sure we look after him.
“He is still looking to get to full match fitness. There will come a point where he will be available to play in all of the games, or certainly be available for them.
“Now he is fresh and fit and looking forward to the game this weekend.”
Benteke, 24, has missed the club’s last three matches with a hamstring injury but will be assessed with a view to him playing in the crunch Premier League clash if the tests are positive.
“There is no real change to the squad,” continued Rodgers. “We obviously had one or two knocks [against Sion]. We are seeing how Christian Benteke is over the course of the next 24 hours.
“Apart from that, the squad will be pretty much the same as the Aston Villa game.”