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Sturridge ready to 'step up' to fill Suarez void at Liverpool - Brendan Rodgers

Daniel Sturridge
Sturridge can fill Suarez void Credit: PA Pictures

Daniel Sturridge is ready to step up and fill the sizeable gap left by Luis Suarez in the Liverpool attack - but says his team-mates need to do likewise as they begin life without the prolific Uruguayan.

Suarez finished as Liverpool's leading scorer in each of his three seasons at Anfield, including netting 31 goals in the Barclays Premier League last term as the Reds claimed a top-two spot.

However, Brendan Rodgers' men will not be able to rely on Suarez next term after the 27-year-old was sold to Barcelona for a club-record £75million this summer.

It will not be easy to replace Suarez's goals or his all-round contributions to the team, but England striker Sturridge insists there is more than enough talent at Liverpool to ensure the Reds continue moving forward.

The 24-year-old, who was second to Suarez in the Premier League scoring charts last term with 21 goals, said in several national newspapers: "It was a unique partnership, and I wish Luis all the best. We shared some good times together. We created history with our goals and became the most successful Liverpool partnership in one season.

"But in terms of next season for the goals, I'll step up myself and everyone has to. It's everyone's job to do that, the new boys who have come in as well as the players who have been there all season.

"We will move forward as a team."

Although Suarez has gone, Rodgers has been busy adding to his squad this summer, with England internationals Rickie Lambert and Adam Lallana being brought in along with Emre Can, Lazar Markovic and Dejan Lovren.

Sturridge believes the future looks bright for the 18-time English champions, adding: "This is a huge club, with a lot of players who can step up. Luis has left. That's football, he's moved on.

"For me, with the signings the manager has made - exciting players, young players, up-and-comers as they call them - we are going to have that winning mentality.

"We will still have the mentality to move forward, be an exciting squad, playing attacking football and that's the Liverpool way.

"Whether we are underdogs or favourites (next season), it will not change our mentality. We are a young, hungry squad looking to put our stamp down, not just in the Premier League but Europe as well."

Manchester United had to devise new training programme for 'unfit' Luke Shaw

Luke Shaw
Not fit enough for new season Credit: PA Pictures

Manchester United have had to devise a special training programme to get Luke Shaw in shape for the start of the season.

Shaw had a fortnight off after the World Cup and he has arrived at United unfit, according to Louis van Gaal, who wants to see an improvement from the 19-year-old in the coming weeks.

Shaw, a £27million signing from Southampton, trained alone at the FedExField ahead of United's friendly against Inter Milan, which kicks off in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Danny Welbeck, Wayne Rooney, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, who all returned from World Cup duty on the same day as Shaw, were deemed fit enough to train with the squad.

But there are concerns that Shaw is off the pace.

"He needs to be fit and he is not very fit," the United boss said.

"Therefore he cannot perform what I want so first he has to be fit and has to train individually.

"I have spoken with him and we have made the programme. He agreed with me.

"We will have to see how long it takes (for him to get fit)."

Van Gaal is well within his rights to demand Shaw be fit for the season-opener against Swansea having shelled out such a big fee for the teenager.

New training programme
New United manager says Shaw not fit Credit: PA Pictures

Having sold Alexander Buttner to Dynamo Moscow, Van Gaal has little cover for the England international, so he has had to rely on Ashley Young, Reece James and Tyler Blackett while on tour in the USA.

One area where Van Gaal is blessed with options is in the final third.

Juan Mata, Rooney and Welbeck have been his first choice attack in the 3-4-1-2 formation the Dutchman says he will use for the rest of the tour.

Javier Hernandez, Will Keane and Shinji Kagawa have also featured in the two matches in the States, but Wilfried Zaha is yet to kick a ball in anger on the trip.

The England international, who joined United from Crystal Palace for £15million last summer, will have to move out from the wings into the centre if he is to play any part in the coming season.

"When we play this system he has to play as a striker otherwise he cannot play," said Van Gaal, who confirmed Zaha would come on as a substitute against Inter.

With Adnan Januzaj and Robin van Persie to come back to training following their World Cup exploits, first-team opportunities also seem limited for Hernandez.

Van Gaal distanced himself from rumours of an imminent swap deal involving the Mexican and Inter's Fredy Guarin.

"I don't know anything about it," the former Barcelona manager said.

"I cannot tell you anything about that."

Van Gaal made the task ahead of Hernandez perfectly clear though.

"When he plays he will play in striker position and he has competition with Rooney, Van Persie, Welbeck, Will Keane, Zaha - a lot players," Van Gaal added.

Van Gaal took great pleasure in responding to a question from a Mexican reporter about Hernandez's fitness.

"We, the Dutch national team, beat Mexico in the second round of the World Cup. That's why he joined the squad later than the others," said the former Holland coach with a big smile.

"I wanted to say that to you. But I believe he is fit."

One person who will not participate in the rest of the tour is right-back Rafael, who has been sent home to recover from a groin injury he suffered in training last Friday.

Van Gaal is sure the Brazilian does not require surgery, but he could not say whether he would be back for the first game of the season against Swansea on August 16.

"I don't know (if he will be fit for the new season). We will wait and see," Van Gaal said.

"The player could have stayed in America but I think the treatment at the Aon training complex is much better.

"This way he can also work out his jet lag much earlier.

"Rafa agreed with me that he should go back. He is there already and he's started training."


Police looking for man after sexual assault

Artist's impression of offender
The man approached a 13-year-old girl before sexually assaulting her. Credit: Lancashire Police

Police have released an artist's impression of a man they would like to speak to after a sexual assault was reported in Walton-le-Dale near Preston.

Officers say a 13-year-old girl was approached by a man in the Severn Drive and Duddle Drive area. He tried to speak to the young girl before sexually assaulting her.

The big cheeses roll into town

The International Cheese awards return to Nantwich once again. Today judges will get to taste an astonishing array of cheeses.... Last year's show saw more than four thousand different entries from 26 countries. It included old favourites like Cheshire and Stilton and the more exotic like choc chip and cheese with marmalade.

Sean Wilson at work on a market stall
Sean Wilson is one of the celebrity chefs at the show Credit: PA

A number of celebrity chefs will be making an appearance, including Sean Wilson, best known for playing Martin Platt in Coronation Street. Since leaving the soap in 2005 and following his passion for food, Martin has won numerous awards for some of the cheeses his company has produced.

TRAVEL: M60 Greater Manchester

Two lanes closed and very slow traffic due to accident on M60 anticlockwise between J11 A57 (Barton) and J10 B5214 (Trafford Centre), congestion to J16 A666 (Pendlebury). Two lanes (of three) are closed. Normal rush hour traffic is adding to delays.


Fight to bring HS2 to Liverpool

A campaign to bring the proposed High Speed Rail line to Liverpool will begin today. Campaigners are hoping to persuade the Government to change plans for HS2, which currently bypass the area.

Artist's impression of HS2 train
The current planned HS2 route bypasses Liverpool Credit: ITV Granada

Those who want the route changed say it will bring huge benefits to Liverpool. They claim it'll create 14 thousand new jobs and boost the region's economy by more than 8 billion pounds.

MP launches report into mental health support in Cumbria

Tim Farron MP
Tim Farron MP Credit: ITV

South Lakes MP Tim Farron will launch the report of the Independent Panel he asked to review mental health support for children and young people in Cumbria today.

The report 'Born in South Lakeland - developing emotionally resilient children' took eight months to complete. It was commissioned by Tim Farron MP to review how services operating in Cumbria could support young people better.

Schoolchildren's World War 1 journey of discovery

by Tim Scott

There's just a week to go until the 100th anniversary of this country entering the First World War. To mark the occasion the families of many servicemen who fought and died are travelling to France to honour the dead at war memorials and cemeteries over the next few days. And one group of schoolchildren from St Helens have already been to see for themselves the sacrifice made by so many.

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