Daniel Sturridge must start against Bolton, says Liverpool legend

John Aldridge urges Brendan Rodgers to start Daniel Sturridge

John Aldridge says Daniel Sturridge must start against Bolton Wanderers on Tuesday in order to gain match fitness for the coming weeks.

The 25-year-old made his first appearance in over five months on Saturday when he came off the bench to score Liverpool’s second goal in a 2-0 win at home to West Ham.

When Sturridge came off the bench, everything seemed to click

Daniel Sturridge

Sturridge has suffered from thigh and calf problems since August but looked relatively sharp during his 26-minute cameo last weekend.

However, Aldridge insists the striker must start in his side’s FA Cup fourth-round replay at the Macron Stadium.

“I’d have Daniel Sturridge in from the start at Bolton,” Aldridge told Liverpool Echo.

“And I think Brendan Rodgers is on the same train of thought.

“Having been out for such a long time, Sturridge needs games to build up his fitness and sharpness.

“Mind you, he didn’t look too bad when scoring on his return against West Ham United last Saturday.

“Psychologically, when Sturridge came off the bench, everything seemed to click. He gave such a lift to his team-mates and also the crowd.

Sturridge’s return boosts Liverpool’s chances of avoiding an upset at Bolton after a lacklustre performance against Neil Lennon’s side at Anfield.

But while the striker is expected to be given a start by Rodgers, he is unlikely to play a full 90 minutes just yet.

The England international is coming back at a good time with the Reds in good form, extending their seven-match unbeaten run in the league at the weekend.

Sturridge will add extra fire power to a Liverpool side that have recently started to find their feet in front of the net after a difficult period without their star man.

However, Aldridge warns that it will take time before the forward gets back to his best form.

“Adrenaline gets you through the first few games, and it’s after that the struggle to regain fitness really starts,” added Aldridge.

“In my day, you’d play in the A team or the reserves. Nowadays, though, they only have training or behind-closed-doors games.

“That’s not ideal. So it speaks volumes for how well Sturridge has done to seemingly hit the ground running on his return.

“He’s still a fair few games away from being at his best, and Brendan Rodgers won’t want to push him too much.

“But in his brief cameo, it was no coincidence his pace and movement really troubled the West Ham defence.”

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