Liverpool gaffer Brendan Rodgers insists he is not tempted to take any unnecessary risks with the fitness of Daniel Sturridge.
The Reds striker returned to full training on Sunday, having been sidelined since August with a series of thigh and calf injuries.
The Northern Irishman suggested that the England international may have an outside chance of featuring in Tuesday night’s Capital One Cup semi-final second leg at Chelsea, but the Reds boss is adamant that he will resist any urge to rush Sturridge back into action, regardless of the significance of the game.
When asked if that temptation existed, he said:
“No. It doesn’t matter how big the game is, there is no point in Daniel being out all this time to just rush him back. The other players have shown in this period that they can perform, so we wouldn’t risk him, no.”
The Anfied side were left frustrated by their inability to see of Championship side Bolton Wanderers in their FA Cup third round tie on Saturday, but they at least avoided the fate of Chelsea, who were shocked 4-2 at home to Bradford City of League One.
Meanwhile, Rodgers also reiterated his belief that Mario Balotelli could still have a role to play at Anfield. The Italian, who is fit to play, has not featured in any of the Reds’ last three fixtures, and has not started a game since November.