Daniel Sturridge’s thigh strain will keep him out for at least two weeks

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Another international break, another injury.

That’s just the way it goes and this time around it’s Liverpool come up on the short end of the stick as Daniel Sturridge’s thigh strain is set to keep him out for at least two weeks.

That is the report from the Liverpool Echo, which claims the injury picked up at England training last Friday will see him miss out on this week’s Aston Villa match and next week’s West Ham clash.

Perhaps even more discouraging is that Sturridge’s injury will also keep him out of their first Champions League clash since 2010, when they square off against next Ludogorets at Anfield on Tuesday night.

The silver lining, of course, is that this predicament is exactly why manager Brendan Rodgers secured the services of Mario Balotelli from AC Milan. The Italian striker, who made his Liverpool debut two weeks back in the 3-0 victory over Tottenham, is healthy and raring to go for the Reds.

[Related: Sturridge set to miss time after injury in England training]

Rodgers could use Balotelli as a lone striker in a 4-2-3-1 setup or maintain his 4-4-2 diamond midfield and pair him with Rickie Lambert in what could be an intriguing partnership.

The 25-year-old Sturridge is also unlikely to feature against Middlesbrough in the Capital One Cup a week from next Tuesday but is expected to return against Everton in the Merseyside Derby on Saturday the 27th.