Daniel Sturridge: Liverpool striker set for return from ankle injury

Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge is close to a return to action after recovering from an ankle injury which has kept him out since 23 November.

The England international, 24, trained this week and will be assessed ahead of Sunday's trip to Stoke.

"To have someone of that stature and quality back in your group gives you great firepower," manager Brendan Rodgers said.

Defender Daniel Agger will be out for up to four weeks with a calf problem.

The Dane, 29, limped out of the 2-0 FA Cup third-round win over Oldham last weekend.

Life without Sturridge

Liverpool have won six and lost three of nine Premier League matches since Sturridge sustained his ankle injury.

Sturridge has scored nine goals in 12 Premier League appearances this season but has not featured for the Reds, who are fourth in the Premier League, since the 3-3 draw at Everton on 23 November.

And Rodgers believes the striker, who joined from Chelsea 12 months ago, will make a significant contribution to the rest of the campaign.

The manager added: "He has made a terrific impact since he came in here and we are working hard with him and his talent to allow that to flourish.

"Over the last four to five weeks it has obviously been difficult with injuries, but having these types of players back and just seeing him on the training field has been really good.

"We don't need to rush him but we need to make sure he is ready to make an impact in the second half of the season."