Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers insists expectations still need to be handled carefully regarding Daniel Sturridge but he was delighted that the fit-again striker is back and scoring.
The England international ended a five-month injury absence by coming off the bench to score the Reds’ second in a 2-0 win against West Ham after Raheem Sterling had opened the scoring early in the second half.
Sturridge’s return has been long-awaited with the side struggling for a cutting edge and while Rodgers is keen for the 25-year-old to be held up as a solution to all their problems he admits it is a relief to see him scoring again.
“It was nice for him. He has been out for a long time and worked very hard,” he said. “When he is in that area of the pitch he has shown he is lethal and it was a great first touch and then he has great power off both sides and it was a wonderful finish. I am delighted for him.
“He has come back into the fold but it is just managing that integration into the team but I know he is excited about coming back.
“But it was better him scoring than not scoring because if he doesn’t everyone is looking at him wondering when he will get his first goal.”
Rodgers rested captain Steven Gerrard as a precaution after he reported a tight hamstring after 120 minutes against Chelsea in their midweek Capital One Cup semi-final defeat but said the midfielder would be available for the FA Cup replay at Bolton on Wednesday.
“The first one looked like the centre-forward was jumping up and he has got ahead of Emre. That is Andy’s game, physicality is a big part, but I thought out players were great in how they dealt with it,” added the Reds boss.
“The team stood up to the aerial duels very well, pressed the game well and they got their rewards for that.”