Brendan Rodgers has confirmed Liverpool will assess the fitness levels of Daniel Sturridge over the next 48 hours in order to ascertain whether the forward can play in Saturday's Merseyside derby.

Sturridge has not featured for the Reds since he excelled in his side's impressive 3-0 demolition of Tottenham Hotspur at White Hart Lane on August 31.

During the international break that followed, the England star sustained a thigh injury while in action for the Three Lions and was required to undergo treatment.

The problem has prevented Sturridge from playing his part in cup victories over Ludogorets Razgrad and Middlesbrough as well as consecutive Barclays Premier League defeats to Aston Villa and West Ham United.

Rodgers was quizzed by reporters at Melwood on Thursday afternoon ahead of the club's 223rd derby clash with neighbours Everton - and the boss was asked for an update on the striker's progression.

He responded: "We've got a number of injuries that we're just going to give every chance to. Obviously the game is 48 hours away.

"[Sturridge] is a player who is out on the field working. Daniel and a number of others we'll assess nearer the time. If he doesn't make it, then he won't be far off after that.

"He is someone that responds well to treatment and it's gone well - he's out on the field. There's still a couple of days to go yet before the game. The most important thing is that he is nearer to fitness.

"He certainly won't be match fit - he hasn't played for a few weeks. But it would be great to have him back because he's a wonderful player for us.

"He's a great reference for our team at the top of the field. His pace and movement and quality that we saw the last time he played for us, against Tottenham. He was exceptional.

"We'll be very happy to have him back and we hope that can be this weekend. But we'll assess over the next couple of days."

The manager also fielded questions on the sharpness of Raheem Sterling ahead of the derby, after the youngster played a full 120 minutes of football against Middlesbrough in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday.

Rodgers replied: "Obviously it wasn't ideal, but we gave him the breather against Aston Villa because we knew he was going to be important for a number of our games coming up.

"The Capital One Cup is an important competition for us, we want to do well in it and he's a very important player for us. He's a super-fit boy at 19 years of age. He trains, he works away every day and I think you can see his fitness is at a high level and I know he'll be relishing the game at the weekend.

"He's a wonderful boy who is developing really, really well here and I think he and his representatives, and people close to Raheem, know how comfortable he is here.

"Obviously I'm sure that at some point in the future, whatever contract we're looking to work with Raheem will be sorted. He's still got three years left, but there's no rush from my perspective at the moment."

Gallery: 40 brilliant pre-Everton pictures