May 2, 2014, 9:17 PM EDT
Daniel Sturridge‘s hamstring injury may have prevented him from starting Liverpool’s last three matches but that streak will likely end this Monday when the Reds face Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
Brendan Rodgers announced Friday that the striker, who was restricted to a substitutes role in the 0-2 loss to Chelsea last week, is in contention to play at Selhurst Park after intensive rehabilitation under the eye of Liverpool’s medical staff.
“Initially they thought the hamstring injury was not going to be as bad as what it was,” Rodgers said.
“He has trained with the medical team and he worked hard to push himself to make an impact against Chelsea but it was clear that impact was not going to work for us. He has been in a much better phase this week and feels a lot better and he will certainly be in contention for the game on Monday.”
The importance of Sturridge’s return to the starting lineup can not be overstated. Assuming both Manchester City and Liverpool win out their remaining matches, City will be crowned champions assuming they can maintain their current goal differential advantage, which currently stands at eight. While overcoming that advantage over two matches is a longshot for Liverpool, the club has been known to drop five or more goals on an opponent (see: Stoke City, Arsenal, Cardiff City, Tottenham, Norwich City) so having the best XI available is paramount.
Heading into the penultimate weekend of the season Sturridge has 20 goals and 7 assists in 27 Premier League appearances.
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