Liverpool’s Sturridge returns to full training

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When Liverpool face their fiercest of rivals, Manchester United, on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via Live Extra), is highly likely that Brendan Rodgers‘ side will once gain be without star striker Daniel Sturridge, who missed most of the 2014-15 season through multiple long-term injuries.

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Sturridge, who missed the first half of 2014-15 with a series of calf and thigh injuries, is inching closer and closer to a return to the field, though, as the 26-year-old returned to full training Thursday for the first time since his 2014-15 season was put to bed early following hip surgery.

According to the Guardian, Sturridge is in contention for the 18-man gameday squad to face Man United at Old Trafford, though a return to game action just two days after returning to full training seems quite unlikely. Instead, Sturridge, who scored 21 goals during the 2013-14 Premier League season, is a safer bet to be available from the bench next week when the Reds host Norwich City at Anfield.

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Once Sturridge returns to the field and regains 90-minute fitness (or as close to it as he’ll ever have), Rodgers’ lineup selection is going to get mighty interesting. Christian Benteke, signed for $50 million in the summer, has started the season very well at center forward. The immediate home for Sturridge, who can also play out wide and cut inside onto his favored left foot, is probably back out on the right wing, unless Rodgers opts to return to the two-striker system in which Sturridge produced standout performances playing alongside Luis Suarez two seasons ago.

Liverpool will also be without the services of midfielders Jordan Henderson (foot) and Adam Lallana (thigh) this weekend, who are both considered doubtful for the trip to Manchester.