Liverpool winger Stewart Downing was delighted to see teammate Daniel Sturridge return to full training on Monday.

The 23-year-old suffered an ankle injury on international duty with England back in May, but joined his colleagues in an open session at Anfield earlier this week.

After sealing a switch to the Reds from Chelsea in January 2013, striker Sturridge wasted no time in smashing 11 goals in 16 appearances for his new side.

His comeback was a pleasing sight for Downing, who expects the Three Lions international to have a 'very important' role for Liverpool this season.

"Daniel has looked really sharp and it's great to see him back training again," Downing told the Liverpool Echo.

"Daniel is going to be very important for us. Hopefully he can get some minutes against Celtic and then be ready for the Stoke game.

"It's a big plus for us to have him back fit before the start of the season.

"The gaffer brought him in at a good time. We needed an injection of goals and he provided that.

"He settled in very quickly and I think he really enjoyed playing every week after being on the fringes down at Chelsea.

"He's got great ability, pace and strength; he causes defenders a lot of problems and if he carries on where he left off last season we'll be delighted."

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Having Sturridge available again further swells Brendan Rodgers' attacking options, following the arrivals of Luis Alberto and Iago Aspas this summer.

With Fabio Borini fully fit too, Philippe Coutinho continuing to thrive and teenage duo Jordon Ibe and Raheem Sterling showing great promise, competition for places is tough.

Downing added: "At a club like Liverpool you need players competing for a shirt.

"I didn't think we really had that last season as we were a bit short on numbers.

"But this season there is real competition, especially going forward, and hopefully that can help push us on a bit.

"The manager said he wanted to sign players who would bring more goals to the group and both Iago Aspas and Luis Alberto have done well so far.

"Then there's Sturridge, Fabio Borini, Raheem Sterling, Jordon Ibe and myself.

"Of course people aren't happy if they aren't playing but having competition keeps everyone on their toes."