Daniel Sturridge Liverpool
Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge is closing in on a comeback from a long-term injuryReuters

Daniel Sturridge is closing in on a comeback for Liverpool, and even if the striker will miss the English Premier League clash against Sunderland, those scenes of him wearing that red shirt and scoring goals are not too far away.

Sturridge has been sidelined with a hamstring/thigh problem since the end of August with various comeback scuppered by setbacks, which in turn has forced Liverpool to send the England international to the United States for rehabilitation.

Giving an injury update on Sturridge's status, Rodgers said his forward will return to England this week and will step up his comeback in the confines of Melwood.

"He's at a very late stage, he's going to be back into the country -- which is great," said Rodgers. "He's into the final stages of rehab.

"We're looking forward to having him back. The work that he's done in America has been fantastic, he has been very well supported out there.

"He has obviously travelled about to get some of the best people in the world, specialising in his rehabilitation. He'll now come back and finish it off here.

"We're hoping that at some part in January he'll be ready to come back into the team and the squad, and help us to achieve something in the second part of the season."

Liverpool have big games against Chelsea -- Sturridge's former club -- coming up in the Capital One Cup, while Rodgers will also know the importance of keeping pace in the Premier League as well. Sturridge's goals have been sorely missed by the Reds, and the sooner he returns to the squad the better for Liverpool.

One thing is for sure, Rodgers and the medical team will be extremely careful about bringing Sturridge back, because another setback and that could very well be the end of the season for the 25-year-old.

"We just need to assess him first, just to see where he's at and get the feeling from him," added Rodgers. "We've taken our time on this one.

"We're trying to look after the medium and long-term here, so he won't be rushed. If we feel it's the right thing to get him playing some practice games and training -- then back into the first team -- we'll assess that.

"It's difficult to forecast, especially with injuries. You can put a date and they come back earlier. You can put the same date and it might take a bit more time."

While Sturridge is a certain miss for the match against Sunderland on Saturday, joining the Englishman on the sidelines are goalkeeper Brad Jones, defenders Jon Flanagan and Glen Johnson and midfielders Adam Lallana and Joe Allen.

Allen has been missing in action for nearly a month, and Rodgers is not going to rush the midfielder back either, with the Welshman still struggling to recover from a knee injury.

"Joe is working outside now and hopefully over the course of the next week or so he will be ready to rejoin the group," Rodgers told the Liverpool Echo. "He's had an issue with his knee for most of the season. He came back well initially but it's been a niggling injury for him.

"He came on in the game away to Leicester and hurt it again in a tackle.

"We want to make sure that when he comes back he's right, rather than still feeling the effects which then hinders his performance."

Sunderland do not have as many problems as Liverpool when it comes to injuries, with only midfielder Lee Cattermole a doubtful starter with a groin injury, while Jack Rodwell and Anthony Reveillere are expected to feature despite hamstring and calf problems.

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