Brendan Rodgers gives reason Liverpool missed the top four last term

The Reds boss has said that had Daniel Sturridge stayed fit last season the Anfield outfit may well have qualified for the Champions League.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has stressed the importance of returning striker Daniel Sturridge, with the Reds boss claiming that had the centre forward stayed fit last season he could have fired the club into the Champions League, as reported by FourFourTwo.

The Anfield outfit had an up-and-down campaign in 2014-15, with a mid-season revival suggesting that they were ready to finish in the top four.

However, a capitulation towards the end of the season saw the Merseyside outfit end up in sixth place, while they were eliminated from the FA Cup at the semi-final stage by Aston Villa.

Rodgers has been discussing just how important Daniel Sturridge is to the club and stated that had the England international had a clean bill of health last term it could have been a successful campaign for the club.

"Yes, because he is in that elite band of player that we’ve seen here," Rodgers is quoted as saying by FourFourTwo after being asked if Sturridge’s absence cost them a top-four spot.

"We've seen here the brand of football we can create when we have that talent available.

"He played a massive part in that, so if he stays fit and others come into the reckoning we can piece together an exciting team again.”

Sturridge returned to the Red first-team fold at the weekend, scoring twice in a 3-2 win over Villa and re-announcing himself to the Premier League fraternity.

Rodgers has welcomed the former Manchester City youngster back with open arms and stated that Liverpool are a much more dangerous side in the final third with him available.

"Players like that make the difference," the Northern Irishman continued.

"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.”

Liverpool fans are waiting with baited breath for a potential strike partnership between Sturridge and big-money summer signing Christian Benteke.

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