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No Drop-Off from Sturridge in Wake of Rodgers' Blunt Assessment

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Ahead of the Merseyside Derby, a half-fit Daniel Sturridge trained poorly and cost himself a starting spot. That's not been the case leading up to Sunday's trip to Hull, with Brendan Rodgers asserting that the striker is back to his best in preparations.

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Alex Livesey

Fitness and attitude have been the only two worries for Liverpool supporters when it comes to Daniel Sturridge, so when it appeared that problems with both were on display earlier this week, jangled nerves were understandable. The striker's decision to make himself available for England duty was costly, as it compromised his availability to put in a full ninety-minute shift for his club at Goodison Park last Saturday. His manager's assessment furthered irritations, as Brendan Rodgers openly acknowledged that Sturridge's training levels weren't good enough in terms of fitness or application.

The manager's evaluation ahead of Liverpool's trip to Hull City this weekend will hopefully assuage the worries of those inclined to fear the worst--the striker's fitness might not be back in full, but it appears he's back in Rodgers' good graces with a better commitment this week.

"He has certainly trained very hard this week. We've got another day to go to prepare and see where all the players are at. I like to give all the players every chance to show that they can be in the team. He has worked exceptionally well and, when he does that, his quality is there for everyone to see."

It's all been a bit too good to be true with Daniel Sturridge since he arrived; other than ongoing problems to stay at full health, the attitude problems have been non-existent. All he's done is score goals, talk about helping Liverpool win, and heap praise upon a manager that rescued him from further sliding into obscurity after failing to receive proper chances at Manchester City and Chelsea.

Maybe that lingering anxiety is to blame for unease at this week's proceedings, but one of that magically changed with what proved to be a storm in a teacup. Sturridge made an understandable (though upsetting for most Liverpool supporters) decision to take part for England when given the chance, it cost him fitness and availability to train ahead of the trip across Goodison Park, and Brendan Rodgers exercised other options as a result.

Public comments regarding that decision might have been questionable on Rodgers' part, but, like so much of what we find ourselves worrying about, there's little to indicate that the back-and-forth between manager and player--which was more like a forth-and-forth--is going to end up as the worst-case scenario.