Daniel Sturridge says he’s ready to return to Liverpool lineup in Merseyside derby

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Liverpool forward Daniel Sturridge has declared himself fully fit and ready to start in Saturday’s Merseyside derby against city rivals Everton (Watch live on NBC and online via Live Extra, 12:30 pm ET).

[ MORE: Everton to unveil Hilsborough tribute ]

Sturridge, who missed three months with a recurring series of thigh and calf injuries, returned to first-team action on Jan. 31 and scored a goal against West Ham United as a second-half substitute. The 25-year-old scored 21 league goals last season and is eager to add to his tally of two in four Premier League games this season.

From the Liverpool Echo:

“First and foremost I’m excited. It’s my favorite game, I love it. The feeling in the city is completely different when you’re playing that game, the energy and everything.

“I’m looking forward to it. Whether I’m going to play or not that’s the manager’s decision but I’m ready for anything the manager wants to do.

“I feel I’m ready to start but it’s down to the manager to pick the team. I’ve had a week and a bit’s worth of training as well as the two games I’ve come on in and played a part.”

Sturridge also saw 20 minutes of action in Wednesday’s FA Cup fourth round replay against against Bolton. Raheem Sterling and Steven Gerrard (5 league goals a piece) have led Liverpool in Sturridge’s absence, but a fully fit Sturridge is the difference between the Reds qualifying for next season’s UEFA Champions League, and riding out the season in seventh place, which is where they are now.