Liverpool assistant manager Colin Pascoe has admitted that he and Brendan Rodgers are deliberately not overplaying Daniel Sturridge due to fears that they may “break” the injury-plagued striker.
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Sturridge missed four months of the season with thigh and calf problems, but he has featured in Liverpool’s last four games.
The 25-year-old has yet to play a full match since his return, but he did complete 70 minutes in Tuesday’s 3-2 win over Tottenham Hotspur.
Pascoe told LiverpoolFC.com: “He’s desperate to play 90 minutes. He didn’t want to come off. We knew up to 70 minutes was his maximum. Anything more than that then you’re overstepping it and he could pull a muscle.
“We knew that Mario [Balotelli] would be coming on for the last 20 minutes. It’s a progression with Daniel – we can’t push him too much at the moment. We’ll monitor him and see how he is and how he’s training.
“He’s recovering at the moment. He’s feeling great and he’s feeling well. We’ll have to talk to the sports scientists, but we don’t want to push him; we don’t want to break him. But he’s not far off 90 minutes.”
Sturridge is likely to start against Crystal Palace in the FA Cup on Saturday.