Rodgers - Sturridge won't be fit until NEXT season
Daniel Sturridge has spent much of the season in the Liverpool treatment room and now Reds boss Brendan Rodgers has admitted he will not be fully fit until NEXT season.
Sturridge has started just seven Premier League games for Liverpool in this campaign, with a succession of injuries destroying his hopes of leading the Reds line following the absence of Luis Suarez last summer.
While Sturridge will play some part in his side's end of season run-in, Rodgers has suggested he will not be back to his best physically until next August.
“The key for him was to get back and be fit, but he needs a good pre-season and hopefully he’ll be fine for next season," confirmed Rodgers.
"Until that point, we have to maximize what we can get out of him. When you’re out for that length of time, it maybe takes you the same amount of time to get back again."
Rodgers has confirmed that Sturridge is playing through the pain barrier since his return to action, with the Liverpool manager suggesting most players take to the field carrying knocks.
“Everybody is different when they get injured and how they deal with it,” said Rodgers. “A player will never be 100 per cent fit when he plays. They’re always carrying something.
“If it hinders performance, then you can only trust the player that he cannot give any more or they can’t operate at the level they want to because of injury.
“I won’t spare anyone if I feel they can contribute and be effective for us. If it fits the work of the team, then I’ll do that. If he’s physically fit to perform, that’s what’s important to me.
“Then it’s a case of how we think he can be best used, whether that’s from the start or coming off the bench, until he is super-fit.
“With Daniel, there’s been a number of injuries that he’s had and that’s before he came here. He had a fairly sustained run last season and served us well, but this season has been difficult.
“He just needs to find a way to physically and mentally try to keep himself as fit as he can, but sometimes that isn’t all down to you. Sometimes it’s about luck as well."