In case there was any doubt about whether striker Daniel Sturridge, recently returned from a long injury layoff, would be rested against FC Sion on Thursday night, manager Brendan Rodgers quickly made matters clear at his pre-match press conference today. Sturridge will certainly not be starting. Most likely, he won't even make the bench.
"Not at the moment," said Rodgers when pressed on the issue of Sturridge's fitness and whether he's fit enough yet to participate in two games within the span of a week. "I won't speak for the international managers—I'll let them deal with it. But with Daniel it's worth me noting to the FA where he's at fitness-wise, and I'm sure Roy and his staff are clever enough to deal with it."
Sturridge was integral to Liverpool against Aston Villa, shaking off the rust that had marked his early return and scoring a pair of goals. He will also be important to Rodgers' hopes of a strong showing against Everton, one that could be needed to keep him in a job over the October break. As such, resting the striker on Thursday night does seem the wise course of action.
What the manager won't have any control over is what happens after Everton, with England set to take on Estonia and Lithuania in Euro 2016 qualification. After a long absence, Sturridge is expected to return to the national team. However, with England having already qualified for next summer's tournament, there will be little pressure to give him major minutes.
Further, while it was England that broke Sturridge in the first place back in the summer of 2014—following which he has rarely been fit for more than a few weeks at a time before landing back on the trainer's table—the national team have gone out of their way to treat him with caution, and there's even an outside chance they again leave him behind this time around.
Rodgers, though, went out of his way to add that he believes Sturridge is ready to be selected, and it's likely the player will be eager to work his way back into the national team picture ahead of next summer. Still, if they do call him up in the end, a pair of appearances off the bench seem far more likely for Sturridge than a single start, never mind two of them.