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Watch: Daniel Sturridge v. Celtic

Liverpool's final preseason match against Celtic didn't go quite as planned, but the successful return of Daniel Sturridge from injury provided plenty of reason for optimism ahead of next weekend's Premier League opener.

Clive Brunskill

There are a lot of reasons to panic ahead of the start to the Premier League season. Liverpool haven't signed Henrikh Mkhitaryan yet. They haven't signed Bernard yet. They haven't signed ANYONE or done ANYTHING yet. Except bring in Simon Mignolet, Kolo Toure, Iago Aspas, and Luis Alberto and offload a hefty bit of the wage bill, but that's so mundane and unsexy it might as well be a flannel tank top. Stoke City are just around the corner, and then there's a visit to Aston Villa, and then a home date with Notts County in the League Cup. These are reasons for legitimate panic, or at least mild histrionics in the absence of actual knowledge.

What's not a very good reason for concern is the return of Daniel Sturridge from injury, as the young English striker successfully completed a full half of competitive(ish) football for the first time since May in Liverpool's dire and disastrous--or just sort of mundane and uninspiring, but you know, hyperbole--loss to Celtic at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday evening.

Sturridge came on at the break for Iago Aspas and immediately made an impact; his movement, pace, and power up front posed problems for a Celtic back line that had been fairly comfortable to that point, with clever link-up play and a handful of chances scattered throughout his forty-five minutes. That he didn't mark his return with a goal was unfortunate and maybe a bit wasteful, but more important was the fact that he looked ready and willing to contribute to a Liverpool attack that's going to be in need of quality as the season gets going.

This next week will go a long way in determining whether or not he's ready to face Stoke next Saturday, though on today's evidence there's reason to be encouraged. As a starter or a substitute, Daniel Sturridge is going to have plenty to offer, and that's something to feel good about regardless of how well you managed to convince yourself the club is headed for administration.

Video by MenOfShankly

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