McKenzie steps downSturridge suffers new injury

LONDON - Liverpool have been dealt another significant blow after Daniel Sturridge broke down in his first session since returning to training.

Brendan Rodgers had been hoping to have Sturridge back in time for today’s game at Queens Park Rangers or Wednesday’s Champions League fixture, but after a five-week lay-off since picking up a thigh injury on England duty the striker could now be out for another month with a calf strain.

It means Rodgers will be short-handed up front for several more weeks, with the so far underwhelming Mario Balotelli the most likely attacking option for the visit of Real Madrid in midweek.

“It’s not good news,” Rodgers said on learning his player could not even complete a warm-up on his return to training.

Relations between the Liverpool and England camps have been strained all week because of Raheem Sterling’s honesty in admitting to Roy Hodgson in Estonia that his legs still felt sore from the previous game, but the original rift occurred at the beginning of September when England asked Sturridge to train on what he thought should have been a recovery day and he ended up with what the club felt might have been an avoidable injury.

To say Rodgers was annoyed by the situation would be putting it mildly, and that was before Sturridge’s latest breakdown or the necessity of rebuilding Sterling’s confidence.

What at present irks the manager even more is the perception that Liverpool want special treatment for their players, or the idea that the second of two recovery days is spent loafing around rather than working.

“I have done quite a bit of research into what works best for players, and the model we use is quite advanced,” Rodgers explained.

“The second recovery day isn’t about sitting watching Sky Sports on television, it’s a technical session, a football session, but the intensity is reduced.

“I don’t think some people understand that, even former players. Paul Scholes, Jamie Carragher and Michael Owen are all players I admire, but they must have short memories if they say they were never tired at Raheem’s age. You can be tired and still play, and the point about Raheem is that he never said he didn’t want to play. This is a kid who loves playing, who never misses a day’s training – he is out on the training pitch all day.

“He loves playing for England too – I can still remember the excitement in his eyes when he was first called up. He has enjoyed every minute of that, and I think it is grossly unfair for anyone to accuse him of letting the team down. He was just honest enough to say he felt a bit tired, or that his legs still felt a bit heavy, and I’m sure if you asked the rest of the England squad over half of them would say the same thing.” – The Guardian


QPR v Liverpool (2:30pm), Stoke v Swansea (5pm)         


West Brom v Man United (9pm)

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