Rodgers lauds Sturridge impact

Brendan Rodgers has hailed the impact of Daniel Sturridge and believes the striker will be key in Liverpool's bid to qualify for the Champions League.

The England international, who missed much of last season through injury, netted a brace in Saturday's 3-2 win over Aston Villa at Anfield.

And Rodgers is hopeful Sturridge can stay fit this season and be decisive for the Reds, who currently sit ninth in the Premier League standings.

"Players like that make the difference," Rodgers said. "We haven’t scored three goals since he last started a game [against Tottenham in February].

"He gives you a big opportunity to win games and compete at the top end of the table. He is a fantastic talent and now the job is hopefully he can stay fit.

"If he stays fit and others come into the reckoning we can piece together an exciting team again."