Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge is set to make his latest comeback from injury against West Ham United. A raft of injuries have restricted the England international to 24 appearances in the last 18 months but he is expected to recovery from his latest setback in time for the Reds' first game of 2016.
Sturridge has made just four appearances in all competitions this season, scoring four goals but his latest comeback in December was curtailed by a hamstring problem. The blow follows a lengthy spell out after hip surgery.
Though Liverpool may be boosted by the return of their predatory striker, captain Jordan Henderson is expected to spend another spell on the sidelines with a heel problem. The ex-Sunderland midfielder limped off against his former club during the 1-0 win at the Stadium of Light.
"It was something with the heel," Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said, according to The Daily Telegraph. "It could be good for him and it might be the 'final pain'. We will have to wait a little bit. Everyone knows Hendo is a tough guy. I'm not sure. We have to wait. Maybe Daniel can come back on Saturday."
Klopp added on a Liverpool injury list which includes 10 players: "Joe Allen is ill. The doc told me he was vomiting yesterday afternoon so we sent him home. Milner, no. Origi, too early. Flanno (Jon Flanagan) played 30 minutes and tomorrow (1 January) is his birthday but he is not ready."
If Sturridge is not able to make a return to the Liverpool starting XI, then the Merseysiders will rely on Christian Benteke to lead the attack, with the Belgium international having scored the winners in recent 1-0 wins over Leicester City and Sunderland. Nevertheless, Klopp says the former Aston Villa forward still has plenty to improve upon.
"Benteke did the best thing a striker can do, he got the decisive goal," the German added. "Playing better applies to the whole team but the difference in the last two games is fighting. We were fighting well, we had the opportunities and Christian took his chances well. Previously we won games but were average, that's not how it should be if you consistently want results."