James Milner
Jordan Henderson will captain Liverpool this season, with James Milner serving as deputyGetty

Brendan Rodgers has provided an update on three of Liverpool's injured players ahead of the trip to Stoke City, while also confirming that new signing James Milner has been named as vice captain for the campaign ahead, behind Jordan Henderson.

The Reds return to the Britannia Stadium hoping to avenge a humiliating 6-1 defeat suffered there on the final day of the 2014/15 season, a result that proved the club's heaviest league defeat in 52 years and could feasibly have cost Rodgers his job given their disappointing slide out of the top four.

They will travel to the Potteries missing the services of Joe Allen, however, with the Welsh midfielder appearing to strain his hamstring during Liverpool's final pre-season victory against Swindon Town last weekend, with him now facing up to a month on the sidelines.

In addition to Allen's lay-off, Rodgers also confirmed that injury-plagued full-back Jon Flanagan, who was handed a new one-year deal in May despite missing all of 2014/15, should hopefully return from persistent knee trouble before the festive period.

Perhaps most crucially, the Liverpool boss is also expecting to have striker Daniel Sturridge back and available for selection ahead of schedule after reports initially stated he was unlikely to recover from surgery on his hip until October.

"Jon is working well, is on target for a return before Christmas. Daniel will hopefully be back in early September," Rodgers told reporters at a press conference as reported by the Liverpool Echo.

Steven Gerrard's decision to join Major League Soccer outfit Los Angeles Galaxy this summer led to Liverpool needing to appoint a new captain for the first time since the former England stalwart succeeded Sami Hyypia back during the reign of Gerard Houllier in 2003.

Henderson was elevated to the role in July to cap off a radical improvement in form over recent seasons and will now be backed up by Milner following the latter's free transfer from Manchester City. Justifying the decision, Rodgers paid tribute to his efforts in training and suitable personality.

"He [Milner] went to Man City and did a great job and when the possibility he was going to be available, obviously you're surprised but then you're hoping you can get him to come to your club because he's the type of player who gives everything," he added.

"His actual football talent has probably gone under the radar because he's played around some outstanding talents, but this is a guy who works tirelessly at his game. He's in here at 7.45am in the morning making sure he's prepared for his training, getting all of his food supplements and getting everything correct before training – he's in two-and-a-half hours before he trains and then does his work, gives his maximum. He prepares himself like an elite player should.

"He's also got big character and a big mentality, and I felt we needed that in the team to the extent where he will be the vice-captain this year. Jordan has been appointed the captain, but he'll be a great ally for him because he leads by example. James is a wonderful, wonderful footballer and a big personality in the dressing room as well.

"His commitment, his qualities, how dynamic he is on the training field and how demanding he is of other players. That in terms of the captaincy and vice-captaincy can work really well for us."

Twitter/@JamesPearceEcho