Liverpool fans are a nervous bunch when it comes to Daniel Sturridge's fitness. The player's propensity for injuring himself and then re-injuring himself during rehabilitation for the first injury is well known, and it's a valid concern every time the player or his manager starts speaking optimistically about Sturridge returning to Brendan Rodgers' team sheet earlier than expected.
The fear was real once again when news emerged two weeks ago that Sturridge could — emphasis on could — be ready for a return against arch rivals Manchester United. Not that he necessarily would return, especially since he was originally slated to return in October, just that he could. It was the best case scenario update in a world where Liverpool fans are still aching for their star striker to return after missing most of the 2014-15 season.
Fresh fitness concerns emerged late on Wednesday when the Daily Mirror published an inflammatory headline suggesting that Liverpool had been dealt a huge "blow" after Sturridge had been "ruled OUT" — in all caps! — of the Reds' visit to Old Trafford once the Premier League resumes on September 12. Had Sturridge been rushed back ahead of schedule? Had he managed to tweak his injury or otherwise maim himself by pushing himself too hard to return in an important match? Was he facing another extended stay on the sidelines? Panicked minds want to know!
Of course, the answer is far less interesting than the Mirror headline suggested. No, Sturridge didn't re-injure himself. No, he's not being rushed back. Sturridge simply hasn't resumed full training with his teammates yet, and thus isn't yet physically or tactically prepared to feature in Liverpool's next league match. Making the line up against Manchester United was a best case scenario pipe dream, and one that didn't end up panning out.
In the words of the Kolo Touré meme: there is no need to be upset. Daniel Sturridge is fine. We can return to business as usual.