Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson believes the return of striker Daniel Sturridge to the team is “massive” ahead of the busy festive period.
Sturridge came off the bench in Monday night’s 1-0 derby win over Everton to make a huge impact as he helped create Sadio Mane’s 94th-minute winner at Goodison Park.
The England international had missed the Reds’ last five matches with a calf injury and only took part in two training sessions prior to his cameo against Everton.
Liverpool now play three games within the space of seven days, and when asked about the importance of having Sturridge back in the side at this crucial stage, Henderson is quoted as saying by the Liverpool Echo: “It’s massive.
“Both him and Emre [Can] coming on — two brilliant players coming back from injury — shows the squad depth. I thought they were brilliant when they came on.
“I am sure the Everton players looking at those two coming on wouldn’t have enjoyed that last 15 minutes. They wouldn’t have liked seeing those two come on.
“Daniel came up with a bit of magic for the goal and he is a huge player for us.”
While Sturridge returns to the squad, one player Liverpool will be without for the majority of January is Sadio Mane, who will be competing for Senegal at the African Nations Cup.
Henderson admits that losing the attacker is a big blow, but he is confident that the team will be able to cope without the impressive summer signing.
“I always knew that he was a good player,” Henderson said. “I had watched him at Southampton and could tell what he was like from playing against him. But since he has come up here, he has gone up another level.
“That is credit to the manager for helping him improve. It is also credit to him for wanting to improve. He has been fantastic for us this season and he will be a big miss when he goes away with Senegal.
“But we have got players who can step in and we will deal with it. Whoever takes his place, it is up to them to carry on his work.”
Meanwhile, Dejan Lovren has highlighted the impact of Jurgen Klopp’s words to the team at half-time against Everton.
Liverpool were poor in the opening 45 minutes before they returned from the interval much improved and went on to claim victory.
“We missed something in the first half, but we had a good quality talk from the manager at half-time and he was asking us to play more direct football,” Lovren told the club’s official website. “If you want to win you need to be more offensive and ask for the ball. In the second half we showed our real face and deserved it.”
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