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Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge is close to making a first-team return and could be involved at Stoke on Sunday.
The England international has missed the last nine games after he injured ankle ligaments in training in November and had been expected to make a return at the end of January or start of February.
However, reports claim Sturridge came through an intensive solo training session on Monday and will now link up with the rest of the squad for first-team training this week.
There is an outside chance he could feature in the Premier League clash at the Britannia Stadium on Sunday, which would provide boss Brendan Rodgers with a major boost as Liverpool attempt to get their title bid back on track.
The Reds suffered consecutive defeats at Manchester City and Chelsea over the Christmas period in Sturridge’s absence and are now six points adrift of league leaders Arsenal.
Sturridge has managed 11 goals in 14 appearances in all competitions for Liverpool this season, with his last goal coming in the 3-3 draw with Everton in November.
Rodgers does have a few concerns ahead of the trip to Stoke, however, as the club are yet to discover the full extent of the calf injury Daniel Agger suffered in the FA Cup win over Oldham last time out.