Injury-plagued striker Daniel Sturridge insists he is back to peak condition ahead of England’s forthcoming World Cup Qualifiers.
After the 27-year-old enjoyed an impressive pre-season, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp had said Sturridge was in the best condition since he took charge in October 2015.
But the forward then missed the club’s opening two games of the Premier League campaign due to a thigh injury suffered while scoring in the 3-0 friendly win over Bayern Munich.
Sturridge played 60 minutes of Liverpool’s 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on August 19, though, before scoring within three minutes of coming on as a substitute in the 4-0 rout of Arsenal on Sunday, and he now insists he is back to his best.
“It’s the nature of football – sometimes you feel great, sometimes you don’t feel great,” Sturridge, who has earned a spot in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for their upcoming Group F fixtures against Malta and Slovakia, told Premier League Productions.
“You put your body on the line every time you go on the football pitch and you push yourself to your limit. You don’t want to hold back, you want to push yourself to your limit.
“I feel as sharp as ever, I’m ready to go. I had a great pre-season, felt really good and I’m looking forward to the future, to be honest with you. I feel great, it’s the best I’ve felt for a long time, and I’m looking forward to this season.”
Sturridge could line up against Malta on the same day he turns 28 on Friday, as England look to edge closer to qualification for the World Cup finals in Russia next year.
The forward, who started just seven Premier League games for Liverpool last season, will need to remain fit in order to earn a seat on the plane next summer, and despite the Reds’ strong start to the season, he is not looking too far ahead.
“I think everybody outside of the players has made the judgment on how far they believe we [Liverpool] can go,” said Sturridge. “We’re quietly confident, but it’s important not to get excited because in football, things can change.
“With one or two results, you’re out of the running sometimes, and you saw from last season that teams who might not necessarily have started well ended well, so it’s important for us to pace ourselves, take one game at a time, and not get excited.”