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Saturday September 14, 2013 MYT 12:57:01 AM
Saturday September 14, 2013 MYT 12:57:15 AM
Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge (L) scores past Aston Villa's Brad Guzan during their English Premier League soccer match at Villa Park in Birmingham, central England, August 24, 2013. REUTERS/Darren Staples
LONDON (Reuters) - Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers says Daniel Sturridge could be fit for their Premier League clash at Swansea City on Monday despite the striker missing both of England's World Cup qualifiers because of an injury.
Sturridge has scored in each of Liverpool's three 1-0 victories which have propelled them to the top of the league and Rodgers is hopeful he will return to help continue his side's best start to a season for 19 years.
A quick recovery from the thigh strain that prevented him playing for his country against Moldova and Ukraine could raise eyebrows, but Rodgers said Sturridge's commitment to England should not be questioned.
"It was the medical experts who made the decision - it wasn't Daniel Sturridge," Rodgers told a news conference.
"He left the game against Manchester United injured, he's gone away and the great medical staff they have at England and the experts they have their deemed him not quite fit enough for the first game (against Moldova).
"He returned back and there was a slight improvement, but obviously (England manager) Roy (Hodgson) and his staff have to make the decision on whether he's going to be right or available. Obviously at that stage, he wasn't.
"But by the time we play on Monday, it'll be nearly two weeks and for a grade one strain, people in football and the experts who know better then I will you tell you it is perfectly reasonable to be back playing in that timescale," Rodgers added.
"He shouldn't be held as someone who has turned down his country."
Liverpool are riding a wave of optimism, especially after beating Manchester United before the international break, and Rodgers' squad will be bolstered by the availability of three new faces against Swansea.
Defenders Tiago Ilori and Mamadou Sakho were both signed on deadline day as was Chelsea forward Victor Moses on a season-long loan and all could play a part on Monday.
"They have been brought in for the longer term. Victor is on a season-long loan and I've brought him in to be a big part of what we're doing, as with the other two boys," Rodgers said.
"We've made a strong start, there's a lot of confidence and belief in the group. These players will come in and add to that, and provide great competition."
Keeper Simon Mignolet, who has enjoyed a superb start to his Liverpool career since joining from Sunderland, said the squad were keen to continue where they left off before the players went away on international duty.
"It's a confident feeling looking at the table. I saw it on the television when I came back from Belgium," he said.
"We have to make sure we continue in the manner that we started the league, starting with a very important game on Monday against Swansea. Hopefully we can do the same thing as we have done in the games we have already played."
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; editing by Toby Davis)
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