Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers admits their primary aim is to get striker Daniel Sturridge consistently fit and that is why they have sent him to the United States for further assessment.
The England international, who has made just 18 appearances in a season blighted by a number of fitness problems, has flown to America to see Dr Peter Asnis, an orthopaedic surgeon connected to club owners Fenway Sports Group’s other major acquisition the Boston Red Sox, in an attempt to solve his current hip injury.
It is the second time this campaign the 25-year-old has visited the States in an attempt to cure his fitness problems having spent a month there in December to undergo rehabilitation for a thigh problem which, combined with a calf injury, sidelined him for five months.
“I think we have found some underlying issues that maybe relate to Daniel’s issues and problems this season and the ongoing problems he’s had, so the medical team here, liaising with some of the medics in America, are doing everything we possibly can to give Daniel every opportunity to stay consistently fit and available,” Rodgers said.
Asked whether part of Sturridge’s problems were mental, Rodgers added: “I’m not sure. Daniel is like every other player – he wants to play and be available.
“It is just unfortunate for him. If you look at his career he’s had little issues along the way but when we brought him here we knew we wanted to give him every chance to be one of the top goalscorers in Europe.
“We have to do everything we can to get him on the training field and into the game, hence the reason for looking into the issue.”
Last month Sturridge spoke to Press Association Sport about his fitness issues this season. Two of the things he was keen to stress were how psychologically sound he was and how the experience of being sidelined for so long had benefited him in a different way.
“Every season you learn something new and this season I have learned you have to be mentally strong and I am mentally strong so I’ve learned a new lesson,” he said.
“Next season there will be a new lesson to learn. You are never too old to learn. You can be 35 and still learn something new when you are playing football.
“I know what I need to do, know where I need have to go and I know where I want to be as well so for me it is important to just continue and look forward to the future.”
While he was in America for his last spell Sturridge had brief exchanges with Rodgers but the striker insists he did not feel he required any additional emotional support as he underwent rehabilitation.
“He (Rodgers) text messaged me and we would speak now and again but I was just over there getting myself ready,” added Sturridge.
“I am mentally strong – I don’t really need to have conversations with anyone.”