How do Liverpool set up when Daniel Sturridge returns?

Daniel Sturridge Liverpool

The striker's return is a welcome one for the Reds, but Liverpool have had a pretty settled line-up that's performed well, do they want to upset the balance?

Liverpool could welcome back striker Daniel Sturridge for the Premier League clash against Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium on Sunday.

In the striker’s absence since his appearance in the Merseyside derby – where Sturridge scored Liverpool’s last minute equaliser in a pulsating 3-3 draw, Liverpool have maintained their good form towards the top of the table, with Luis Suarez reaching his 20th Premier League goal this season in the process.

The Reds have taken 18 points from their nine league games in the striker’s absence and have adopted a system playing with the one front man. The question is, when Sturridge eventually returns to full match fitness, how do Liverpool set themselves up?

Do they stick with their current system, meaning it’s likely Sturridge will start from the bench or out of position, or do they change it a little?

If Sturridge were to start the game it would seem one of the midfielders would have to be sacrificed unless Rodgers were to change his system to three at the back, and give the current predicament with Liverpool’s centre halves at the moment – that may be a week or so away, but depending on the fitness it could be trialled.

If it is a change to three at the back to accommodate both Sturridge and Suarez in central positions, the right flank will become a bit of a headache if Glen Johnson is fit, as Raheem Sterling is currently in very good form and looks harder to drop with each passing game.

The likelihood is that in the near future the duo will start up front but one of them will be required to reprise a deeper role in order to make the extra man in midfield in certain games, if Liverpool continue to adopt a back four.

The two might have more freer roles playing together as one of them is likely to drop into the channels whilst the other takes up the central position in order to move the opposition defence around. But with only the one game where they've played together and neither have scored - Liverpool fans can be excited by the return of their number 15.

image: © kuaver

Register for LIVERPOOL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch