Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson has praised Daniel Sturridge following his successful injury return against Aston Villa and believes his presence in the first-team will give the Merseyside club a massive boost going into the rest of the campaign, as they still harbour hopes of qualifying for the Champions League next season. The England international made an instant impact following his first Premier League start in over four months, when he opened the scoring during the Reds' 6-0 demolition of Aston Villa on Sunday (14 February).
The former Manchester City and Chelsea forward has struggled with numerous injury problems from the start of last season and Jurgen Klopp is wary of pushing him too much too soon in the fear of a relapse. He is currently returning from a hamstring injury he suffered during their Capital One Cup win over Southampton, and will be keen to remain fit to play a part in the final against the Etihad Stadium outfit.
Sturridge has made just eight appearances this season, but has notched up five goals in all competitions and Henderson believes that when in form, the English forward is one of the best in the world. The former Sunderland midfielder is hopeful that his compatriot remains fit until the end of the season as they chase their first trophy under the German manager, while also playing catch-up in the league.
"He makes a huge difference. You can see in the games that he has played how much he has been missed. He has been brilliant since he has come back training and is looking really sharp. Hopefully he can continue to stay fit and cause problems when he plays," Henderson said, as quoted by the Guardian.
"Everyone knows how good he is but because he has been out for a while, you do forget the quality he has got and how good he actually is. There are lads in training who maybe haven't seen that much of him and they have been very impressed. Then you look at him in the games, with his movement ... his sharpness is top drawer. He is a massive bonus for us."
"[He is] definitely one of the best. When he is firing, he is one of the best in the world. He is that good. Finishing, touches, movement – he has got everything. He gets one chance and scores one goal and that is the difference. His biggest problem is getting a run of games, finding consistency and just staying fit. That is the only issue. If he stays fit, he becomes world class," the Reds skipper added.
"I've known Studge for years and I am quite close to him. I have been with him a lot while he has been out. You have to understand he has been more frustrated than anyone at being out. There is a lot gets said about him outside of our group. I know it hurts him and I know it is hard for him to take. He is doing things to try and get back. He doesn't want to be injured. He is more annoyed than anyone that he isn't playing. But now he is back, he has got a smile on his face."