Brendan Rodgers admits he’s encouraged by the progress Daniel Sturridge is making in his rehabilitation from injury – but is to refusing put a timescale on his return to action.
The striker linked up with his teammates in training at Melwood this week for the first time since undergoing a hip operation in April.
Sturridge worked hard over the course of the summer in the United States before coming back to Merseyside to step up his recovery.
Now, having joined in with the rest of the squad in training, he is honing in on a comeback – but Rodgers insists Liverpool will err on the side of caution with the 26-year-old.
The manager told reporters during his pre-Manchester United press conference: “We’ve had Daniel Sturridge’s return to training [this week]. There’s no timeline on when he’ll be fit to participate in a game, but he’s back in training which is good.
“He looked really, really sharp in training yesterday – probably the best he’s actually looked fitness-wise in about 18 months.
“It’s going to be really good when he gets back, but I don’t really want to put a timeline on that.”
Rodgers added: “I’m grateful for the work he’s done in America, where he’s worked very hard with the people over there. I’m grateful for our own medical team who have done a brilliant job in collaborating with them and doing everything they possibly could to give Daniel the opportunity to get back to a level of fitness.
“He’s worked hard, he’s joined in with the group and now we’ll see. We’ll just take it from there, day by day.”
Elsewhere, Rodgers will assess the fitness of the rest of his squad prior to Saturday’s trip to Old Trafford, particularly that of Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana.
Philippe Coutinho, meanwhile, will serve a one-match ban.
“They’re all coming along well,” said Rodgers. “Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana we’ll see over the course of the next 24 hours but they’ve been responding really well in their treatment.
"Apart from that, nothing really changes in the squad. Obviously young Coutinho is out suspended and Kolo Toure is back fit and training.
“Joe Allen is still unavailable but he’ll return to training next week.”