Football: Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge eyeing return from lengthy lay-off

Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge (centre) is challenged by Manchester City's Gael Clichy (left) and Vincent Kompany during their English Premier League soccer match at the Etihad stadium in Manchester, northern England Aug 25, 2014. Sturridge said Wednes
Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge (centre) is challenged by Manchester City's Gael Clichy (left) and Vincent Kompany during their English Premier League soccer match at the Etihad stadium in Manchester, northern England Aug 25, 2014. Sturridge said Wednesday he was "happy to be back" training as he readied himself for a return to first-team action following a prolonged absence through injury. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge said Wednesday he was "happy to be back" training as he readied himself for a return to first-team action following a prolonged absence through injury.

The 24-year-old has not played for the Merseyside club since Aug 31 after a thigh strain suffered while on England duty was followed by a calf problem he sustained while undergoing his first training session back at Liverpool.

But given most of Liverpool's senior squad are away on international duty this week, his first full training session following his rehabilitation from injury won't be until next week.

"Training was class. Happy to be back," Sturridge tweeted on Wednesday, having written on social media after Saturday's defeat by Chelsea that he was "looking forward to returning to full training next week".

Sturridge has missed 14 matches for Liverpool but hopes to be back in action following the international break when Brendan Rodgers's side travel to Crystal Palace on Nov 23.

"I'll be ready for that one, God willing," Sturridge told BT Sport at the weekend.

It's the worst feeling to be honest but that's football. Everyone picks injuries up."

Liverpool have won just five games - two of those in the League Cup - and lost seven while Sturridge has been out of action.

Their Premier League record for the same period has featured five defeats and eight goals in seven matches, with pre-season signings Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert failing to fill the gap left by the likes of Sturridge and Luis Suarez, who joined Barcelona before the start of the current campaign.

Liverpool, last season's runners-up behind champions Manchester City, are currently 11th in the Premier League table and a huge 15 points adrift of leaders Chelsea.

They are though just four points off a place in next season's Champions League, with a top-four finish their immediate priority given they only regained their place among Europe's elite last term.

However, former Liverpool winger Steve McManaman urged Reds fans not to view Sturridge's return as a solution to all the club's problems.

"Daniel Sturridge is hopefully going to be fit and raring to go (soon) and you hope Liverpool can replicate the kind of form they displayed at Tottenham away when they won really easily against a good team," McManaman told Liverpool's website.

"It'll have a positive impact because he's a very good footballer who scored lots of goals last year, but he'll need time to get himself fully fit and well."