Liverpool winger Downing hails ‘sharp’ Sturridge

The 23-year-old feels the forward will play a vital role in the Reds’ campaign regardless of whether Luis Suarez stays at the club and is delighted to see him back in training

Liverpool winger Stewart Downing feels Daniel Sturridge will be “very important” for the club this season following his return from injury.

The 23-year-old has missed the bulk of pre-season after suffering an ankle problem while playing for England in May, but he returned to training again earlier this week.

His recovery could not have come at a better time for Brendan Rodgers’ side as they sweat on the future of wantaway striker Luis Suarez, and Downing is delighted to see him back.

“Daniel has looked really sharp and it’s great to see him back training again,” the winger told the Liverpool Echo.

“Whatever happens with Luis Suarez, he’s suspended for the first six matches anyway, so Daniel is going to be very important for us.

“Hopefully he can get some minutes against Celtic (in the club’s final pre-season match on Saturday) and then be ready for the Stoke game. It’s a big plus for us to have him back fit before the start of the season.

“He causes defenders a lot of problems and if he carries on where he left off last season we’ll be delighted.”

Sturridge made the switch to Anfield from Chelsea in the middle of the 2012-13 campaign and, despite his injury, impressed with 10 goals in 14 league appearances.

However, he will still face competition for a starting spot this season, with new signing Iago Aspas netting four goals throughout pre-season ahead of the meeting with Celtic on Saturday.

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