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Fit-again Daniel Sturridge like a new signing for Liverpool

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Daniel Sturridge has had a rough last 18 months. We can all agree on that.

[ MORE: Klopp waiting to spend big ]

After battling back from injuries which saw him miss most of the 2014-15 campaign, he once again went down in 2015-16 and Jurgen Klopp is yet to see the best of Sturridge since he took charge in October 2015.

The German coach was a little critical of Sturridge’s pain threshold when he first took charge and constant reports linking him with a move away from Anfield, coupled with Klopp’s frustrations, did little to quell the suggestions that the England international would be playing elsewhere this season.

However, despite Klopp preferring to play Roberto Firmino in a false nine for most of last season, partly due to Sturridge’s injuries and a lack of form with just seven goals in 27 appearances, it appears Klopp has been impressed with Sturridge so far in preseason.

“It’s the best condition I’ve seen from him since I’m here. I came in October 2015 and Daniel, I think, was probably injured,” Klopp said. “Last preseason was after a tournament and only a short break. But this year he has had a proper break and is in a good physical shape, absolutely. Daniel could be part of the full preseason so far so that’s very important. It’s looking good. Preseason was quite intense, especially in England. He was part of pretty much each session so it’s good.”

Sturridge is 27 years old and is entering his prime. If he can stay injury free we all know what he’s capable of. This appears to be a make or break season for him.

His audacious goals and sumptuous link-up play with Luis Suarez in the 2013-14 season seem an age away, and although Klopp has Sadio Mane, Firmino, Philippe Coutinho, Adam Lallana, Divock Origi, Danny Ings and now Mohamed Salah to use in the front four attacking positions, Sturridge is the only top-class clinical finisher among them.

Had he been fit and sharp for most of last season, you wonder how many of those draws Liverpool would’ve turned into wins.

The old adage of “getting a good preseason in” rings true (get ready to hear it in October/November when a player is asked why he’s having such a good season) and perhaps no player in the PL needs an injury-free summer more than Sturridge.

If he does stay fit he will be like a new signing for Liverpool and he’ll be able do lead the line with a plethora of attacking talents behind him.

Juventus suffers blow with apparent Higuain injury

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The back-and-forth battle at the top of Serie A continued on Sunday as Juventus topped Torino at the Stadio Olimpico Grande Torino, however, the visitors suffered a big injury scare in the process.

[ MORE: Man United draws Brighton, Chelsea gets Leicester in FA Cup ]

Alex Sandro‘s winner came in the 33rd minute, but the focus of the match will leave all eyes on Gonzalo Higuain — who exited after just a quarter of an hour.

The Argentine international was looking to latch onto a through ball from Miralem Pjanic in the fifth minute, before jumping over an oncoming Salvatore Sirigu — goalkeeper for Torino.

Higuain appeared to land awkwardly on his ankle, though, and while he attempted to continue on in the match he was substituted off for Federico Bernardeschi 10 minutes later.

The extent of Higuain’s injury is unknown to this point, however, it comes at a very bad time for Juventus.

The Italian giants are heavily involved in the Serie A title race, holding a two-point lead over Napoli at the top of the table.

Additionally, Juve has important fixtures coming up in both the Coppa Italia and Champions League against Atalanta and Tottenham, respectively. Higuain and Co. are level at 2-2 with Spurs heading into their UCL second leg in early March, and Juve will surely need the striker’s presence to have a shot at advancing to the quarterfinals.

Rochdale 2-2 Tottenham: Davies stuns Spurs late

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A valiant effort from a League One side has rewarded the minnows with a replay set to be played at Wembley Stadium.

Tottenham Hotspur looked on its way towards the FA Cup sixth round on Sunday, but a late finish by Steven Davies gave Rochdale a 2-2 draw with the Premier League club at the Spotland Stadium.

[ MORE: Willian stars as Chelsea routs Hull in FA Cup ]

Harry Kane — who scored his 34th goal on the season in all competitions — converted from the penalty spot in the 88th minute, however, Davies had the final say deep into stoppage time to send the two sides towards a replay.

Ian Henderson’s finish in the 45th minute gave Rochdale a gift at the conclusion of the first stanza, after the hosts capitalized on a Spurs giveaway near midfield.

Meanwhile, Tottenham managed to level the match at 1-1 on the hour mark when Lucas Moura calmly slotted his close-range shot past goalkeeper Josh Lillis after a timely through ball from Moussa Sissoko picked out the former PSG man.

The visitors began pressing on in the second half, with Mauricio Pochettino‘s side having trailed at the halftime break.

The two sides will now meet on either Feb. 27 or 28 in the reverse fixture to decide which team advances. The winner will either meet Sheffield Wednesday or Swansea City in the quarterfinals.

Scholes: Pogba didn’t earn Man United spot in 2012 before Juve stint

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Paul Pogba‘s young career has been bright, but a former Manchester United legend suggests that there was a time where the Frenchman struggled to find his way at Old Trafford.

[ MORE: Man United draws Brighton, Chelsea gets Leicester in FA Cup quarters

The 24-year-old Pogba is now in his second stint with the Red Devils, after spending four seasons in Italy with giants Juventus.

Former United midfielder Paul Scholes says though that back in 2012 — prior to Pogba’s move to Juve — that the physical player wasn’t pleased with the fact that he wasn’t getting regular minutes with the first team.

“Ferguson wanted me initially to come back and coach the reserve team with Warren Joyce,” he told BT Sport. “I said in September I’d come back. So I started helping Joycey, and I was training with the reserves.

“I was training every day with the likes of Pogba, Lingard, all these types of players. They were a really good side and I was really enjoying training. I was getting fit, I felt great, and it got to December time and the team was struggling a bit.

“They had a load of injuries, no central midfield players were fit. They ended up playing Phil Jones and Fabio da Silva in central midfield in a game against Blackburn at Old Trafford.

“Funnily enough that was the end of Pogba, because he thought he should have been playing instead of them. But he wasn’t doing well enough.”

Scholes, who had retired briefly in 2011, came back after just six months for the Red Devils, and ended up playing a year-and-a-half more following the decision to end his playing career.

It is widely believed that Pogba’s decision to head to Juventus was largely due to the impact of Scholes in the United squad.

Video: Rochdale puts Tottenham on upset alert at the half

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It’s been a tremendous season for Ian Henderson, particularly in the FA Cup, and now he and his side are one half away from upsetting one of the Premier League giants.

Henderson’s finish on the brink of halftime has put League One side Rochdale up 1-0 against Tottenham Hotspur, as the minnows aim to become the first non-PL side to advance to the quarterfinals in this season’s tournament.

A sloppy giveaway from Spurs near midfield created the attack for the hosts, and allowed Rochdale to capitalize on one of its few attacks during the opening stanza.