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Sturridge Unlikely to Face Everton but Sterling Will Start

With Daniel Sturridge having yet to return to full training, a spot on the bench is likely to most the striker can hope for, while Raheem Sterling is likely to start despite playing 120 minutes on Tuesday.

Michael Regan

Despite a slew of summer signings meant to improve depth and help Liverpool to cope with a return to Europe, Brendan Rodgers' side head into the derby with a number concerns. The biggest is striker Daniel Sturridge, who while back on the pitch hasn't yet returned to full training and appears unlikely to start, though a spot on the bench remains possible.

"We've got a number of injured players which we will give every chance to," said the manager. "Daniel is out on the field working, and with him and a number of others we will assess it closer to time. But if he doesn't make it, he won't be far off. He is someone that responds well to treatment, and there are still 48 hours until the game. The most important thing is he is nearing fitness.

"He certainly won't be match fit because he hasn't played in a few weeks, but it will be great when we do get him back because he's a wonderful player, a great reference for us at the top of the field with his pace and movement. We'll be very happy to get him back, and I hope it will be this weekend."

Jordan Henderson and Philippe Coutinho will also be assessed closer to the match, though both appear more likely to be involved than Sturridge. Glen Johnson, Joe Allen, Emre Can, and Jon Flanagan remain some time away from returning to action. On a more positive note, Rodgers has no doubt that Raheem Sterling will be ready to go despite having played 120 minutes on Tuesday.

"I'm not concerned," said Rodgers. "It wasn't ideal, but we gave him a breather against Villa because we knew he was going to be important for us over the games coming up. The League Cup was important, and he's a very important player for us, but he's really fit. He works and trains hard every day, and you've seen his fitness levels are high. I know he'll be relishing the game on Saturday."

If Sterling is likely to start, after missing pre-season and only recently returning to action, Adam Lallana is less so after having similarly gone 120 minutes. There will be a return to the starting eleven, though, for Steven Gerrard, who was given the night off mid-week after showing signs of exhaustion against Aston Villa.

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