x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Premier League previews: Rodgers quick to stand up for Sturridge

The Liverpool manager has been quick to defend newly acquired Daniel Sturridge, who is with his third big club in less than four seasons.

Daniel Sturridge's presence in the Liverpool starting XI can only help Luis Suarez, above, get more chances to score. Suarez is second in the Premier League with 15 goals, two behind league leader Robin van Persie of Manchester United.
Daniel Sturridge's presence in the Liverpool starting XI can only help Luis Suarez, above, get more chances to score. Suarez is second in the Premier League with 15 goals, two behind league leader Robin van Persie of Manchester United.

Brendan Rodgers, the Liverpool manager, has dismissed doubts over the attitude of Daniel Sturridge as the striker prepares to make his Anfield debut against Norwich City on Saturday.

The 23 year old is at his third big club in less than four years after leaving Manchester City in 2009 to play only 96 matches for Chelsea.

Rumours persist about Sturridge's suitability for the Premier League but his £12 million (Dh70.2m) move to Merseyside could not have got off to a better start with goals in his first two appearances.

"I remember being at Chelsea and I'd heard all these things about Nicolas Anelka being an awkward player and I found him one of the nicest guys I ever met in football," Rodgers said. "Sometimes when you are quiet and you focus on yourself you can be criticised for being awkward, but I don't think that is the case with Daniel at all."

 

NEWCASTLE UNITED v READING

The former Fulham right-back Stephen Kelly and Hope Akpan, who moved from Crawley, look set to make their Reading debuts on Saturday.

Alan Pardew, the Newcastle manager, could play Steven Taylor after the defender returned to training following his recovering from a hamstring injury in November.

Fabricio Coloccini looks set to continue in the Newcastle defence despite continuing rumours linking him with a move back to Argentina.

 

 

SWANSEA CITY v STOKE CITY

Goalkeeper Asmir Begovic and midfielder Charlie Adam, rested for Tuesday's FA Cup match, are set to return to the starting line-up for Stoke.

Tony Pulis, the manager, says he has a "big decision" to make over whether to bring the striker Kenwyne Jones - a goalscorer as a substitute in the cup tie, and a reported Swansea target - back into the first XI.

Norwich are reported to have joined Sunderland in making a formal bid for the Swansea striker Danny Graham.

 

 

WEST HAM UNITED v QUEENS PARK RANGERS

Loic Remy on Friday denied he had snubbed Newcastle United in favour of joining QPR because of the financial package offered by the Premier League's bottom club.

"The finance doesn't come into it at all because Newcastle offered me a very good contract as well," the Frenchman said.

West Ham should have the defender Joey O'Brien back from a hamstring injury for the first time since New Year's Day for Saturday's clash at Upton Park.

 

WIGAN ATHLETIC v SUNDERLAND

Wigan are likely to revert to a more familiar line-up for their clash with Sunderland after making nine changes in the FA Cup in midweek

But Roberto Martinez, the manager, has issues in defence with Antolin Alcaraz (groin) training but not yet match-fit and Ivan Ramis (knee) ruled out for the season.

Martin O'Neill, the Sunderland manager, said on Friday Lee Catermole, the club captain, has had a setback in his bid to return from injury.

 

WEST BROMWICH ALBION v ASTON VILLA

Steve Clarke, the West Brom manager, will check on the fitness of Claudio Yacob, Shane Long and Marc-Antoine Fortune before finalising his side for Saturday night's derby with Aston Villa at the Hawthorns.

Ron Vlaar, the Villa captain, is in contention to return to the side after a seven-week absence. The Dutch international defender has been sidelined with a calf injury but returned as an unused substitute against Southampton last weekend.