Sturridge return buoys boss
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has welcomed the return of Daniel Sturridge as the Luis Suarez saga continues to cast a shadow over pre-season preparations.
Sturridge made his first appearance of the summer on Saturday when he returned from an ankle injury sustained in May to play 45 minutes against Celtic.
The England international's return is a welcome boost for Rodgers even if wantaway Suarez stays at Anfield, given the Uruguayan is banned for the first six games of the season for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic last term.
"I thought he was excellent," Rodgers said of Sturridge.
"He made a difference when he came on with that power and pace and that link-up play with (Philippe) Coutinho was great.
"He is working hard to get fit and after those 45 minutes we have a behind-closed-doors game in midweek and we'll assess him after that."
Rodgers admitted the pre-season form of young Brazilian Coutinho was also cause for optimism, with the Premier League kick-off just a week away.
"Coutinho has been fantastic," Rodgers said.
"He is a wonderful footballer and a joy to watch. He was disappointed he didn't score (against Celtic) because he had a couple of opportunities.
"Him, (Steven) Gerrard and Sturridge are all on that same wavelength and their interplay and the way they combined was very promising.
"The players have worked extremely hard and are in really good shape physically and we are itching to get going."