Daniel Sturridge could hand Jurgen Klopp a special Christmas present with Liverpool heading into a busy festive fixture list.
Striker Sturridge has been on the sidelines for the past five games for the Reds, hampered by a calf strain. But he came off the bench to force the issue and help the Anfield giants record a 1-0 win at Everton on Monday thanks to a Sadio Mane strike off a rebounded shot from the England attacker that struck the post.
It meant Klopp’s outfit and their delirious fans could enjoy the bragging rights after claiming the derby spoils and they now prepare for the Christmas period.
Liverpool face home encounters in the top flight against Stoke City on December 27 (kick-off 17.15); Manchester City are the visitors on January 31 (kick-off 17.30), and then are set for a trip to the north east to face Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
And Reds skipper Jordan Henderson believes Sturridge’s return to the first team offers Liverpool a big boost as well as that of Emre Can — and a timely one, at that.
“It’s massive. Both Sturridge and Can coming on against Everton — 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.”
Senegal attacker Mane settled the derby clash and Henderson reckons there is more from the livewire striker.
“I always knew that he was a good player. 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.”