Brendan Rodgers must be happy to announce that Daniel Sturridge is practicing at full speed.

Sturridge made his long-awaited return to the practice field Sunday, and Rodgers told reporters Monday that the Liverpool striker looked sharp in his first full session with his teammates. Rodgers will ease Sturridge back into action, following his five-month absence because of various leg injuries, rather than rushing his return.

“He had a training session with the team yesterday and he trained very, very well,” Rodgers said at his press conference ahead of Tuesday’s Capital One Cup semifinal against Chelsea, according to LiverpoolFC.com. “It was as comfortable as he’s looked, even when he was coming back before — he was maybe a little bit tentative. I thought yesterday he looked back to normal.

“We won’t risk it, that’s for sure. He’s been out for a long time, so we just need to make sure he is ready and feels ready, which is important, to come and contribute.

Sturridge hasn’t played a competitive game since Sept. 3,  and Liverpool has been missing the cutting edge he provides in the final third ever since. It’s one thing for Sturridge to play well in practice, but Rodgers is under no illusions the striker will immediately rediscover the form that helped him score 25 goals last season.

“I don’t think he’ll be 100 percent when he comes back. That will only come when he’s got his game time once he gets playing games,” Rodgers said. “All we can do, alongside him, is make sure he is in the best possible condition that he can be, both physically and mentally, and that will give him a chance to stay fit.”

Whether Sturridge plays against Chelsea on Tuesday, West Ham on Saturday or later, it seems to be a question of when, not if, Liverpool will have its top gun at its disposal.

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Thumbnail photo via LiverpoolFC.com