Brendan Rodgers admits he feels some sympathy for Daniel Sturridge

The former Liverpool manager says it has been a difficult season for the England striker because of injuries and increased competition.

Former Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has admitted to Sky Sports that he feels some sympathy for striker Daniel Sturridge with the England international having struggled with injuries and patchy form this season.

Sturridge was left out by Brendan Rodgers for the 1-0 Europa League semi-final first-leg defeat to Villarreal last Thursday, remaining an unused substitute as Roberto Firmino was preferred in attack.

The 26-year-old played 90 minutes on Sunday as the Reds went down 3-1 to Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium, but saw half-time substitute Christian Benteke net the only goal for Klopp's side.

Sturridge has managed just 22 club appearances this season as he has struggled with injury and fitness issues, but he has still found the net 11 times for the Merseysiders.

Rodgers, who signed the striker six months after taking over at Anfield, acknowledges that it has been a difficult season for the Englishman but admits that Jurgen Klopp has to manage both the player and his squad as best he can.

The Northern Irish boss told Sky Sports: "It's been difficult for Daniel because he's been injured a lot, and other players have come in and have done very, very well.

"Jurgen, as it is for any manager, has to manage the squad the best you possibly can to get the results and it's about the team you can put together."

Rodgers also went on to suggest that he believes the roaring Anfield crowd will see Liverpool overcome their one-goal deficit and reach a first European final in 11 years when they welcome Villarreal on Thursday for the second leg of their Europa League semi-final.

He added: "I think they have a great chance on Thursday night. [Villarreal] are one-nil up, they [Liverpool] will be disappointed to concede late on but going back to Anfield with only one goal to make up, they've got every chance of getting through.

"The Anfield support is incredible so I'm sure they'll really push them into the final."

Liverpool host the Spanish club on Thursday before a Premier League clash with Watford next Sunday.

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