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Liverpool boss: Sturridge looks back to normal

Brendan Rodgers has praised Daniel Sturridge after the Liverpool striker returned to training.

The former Chelsea striker has been out for five months after suffering an injury on international duty.

Rodgers is expected to leave the decision whether Sturridge will be part of Liverpool's League Cup semi-final squad late on after reviewing his fitness.

Daniel Sturridge is back in training. Credit: PA

"He had a training session with the team yesterday and he trained very, very well. 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." Rodgers said.

"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.

"I don't think he'll be 100 per cent when he comes back, that will only come when he's got his game time once he gets playing games."

Rodgers: Balotelli to stay and fight for Liverpool place

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers says Mario Balotelli will struggle to get into his side at the moment, but confirms the Italian striker will stay with the club.

Balotelli is yet to score in the league since joining from Milan in the summer, and has been left out of the matchday squad recently, but doesn't look set to leave in the January transfer window.

Mario Balotelli is a complex character. Credit: PA

"It's been a difficult period for Mario but he wants to fight for an opportunity here."

After Saturday's draw with Bolton, Rodgers confirmed that Balotelli has been absent as his style was not suited to Liverpool's tactics.

“We spent about an hour or so chatting. He understands where it is at. He knows what is required to get in the squad - the pressing and aggression - and if you can’t do that you are not going to be part of the team. We suffered in the first four months of the season and we can’t go back to that."


Fiorentina warn Chelsea off £27m winger

Fiorentina says Chelsea would have to pay £27million to sign winger Juan Cuadrado.

The Premier League leaders have shown an interest in the Colombian, but his release clause stands at £26.8million.

It is thought Chelsea have already offered £20million, which was rejected by the Italian club.

Juan Cuadrado has impressed at Fiorentina. Credit: Reuters

"The buy-out clause is there," Fiorentina president Andrea Della Valle said.

"We put it (buy-out clause) high in order to keep him (Cuadrado).

"I hope he will stay with us for a long time."

Gattuso interested in Rangers vacancy

Former Rangers midfielder Gennaro Gattuso says he would be interested in taking the manager role at the club, but the matter is complicated.

The Scottish side are without a manager following Ally McCoist being put on gardening leave and caretaker Kenny McDowell resigning.

Gattuso, who was back in Glasgow for Fernando Ricksen's charity match, is willing to step into the breach, but feels it would be too complex to do so.

Gennaro Gattuso started at Rangers. Credit: PA

"I still have a lot of memories here. It was 15 years ago that I started to play here. I felt the same running out there again. I'm maybe carrying five of six kilos more but it still felt fantastic.

"But now the club has big problems. They need to find a way of solving those.

"Of course I would be interested in the vacancy. I stopped playing two years ago. Now my job is to become a coach. That's normal.

"But at this time the road [to the Rangers job] is far away."

Bamford: Karanka a lot like Chelsea boss Mourinho

Striker Patrick Bamford believes Aitor Karanka is similar in style to his Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho.

Bamford, who scored in the 2-0 win over Manchester City on Saturday, is currently working under the Basque boss at Middlesbrough, where he is on loan from Chelsea.

Karanka was formerly Mourinho's assistant at Real Madrid, before both men left the Spanish capital in 2013.

Aitor Karanka, left, and Jose Mourinho, right, worked together at Real Madrid. Credit: PA

"Training is very similar and the big thing is the desire to win. You could see that on Saturday - the passion, every detail is in there.

"He doesn't miss out a thing and he is very rigorous with his approach to every single game, whether it is Manchester City or whoever else we might play.

"Even if it was a lower-league team in the cup, it would be the same approach. It is all about winning."


Fifa president Blatter: Uefa is weak

Sepp Blatter says he keeps being asked to run for Fifa president, as no one else in Uefa has the courage to do so.

The current president is running for his fifth term in office and is set to be challenged by Jerome Champagne, Prince Ali Bin Hussein of Jordan and former Tottenham winger David Ginola.

Sepp Blatter has hit out at Uefa. Credit: Reuters

"I have been asked by the national associations to be our candidate again because nobody that is strong was in. So I go there," Blatter told CNN.

"All those who want to get rid of me should come. All this opposition is coming now, it's unfortunate to say - but it's true - it's coming from Nyon, from Uefa. They don't have the courage to come in. So let me go (on) - be respectful."

Former Barcelona man Riquelme calls it a day

Joan Roman Riquelme has announced his retirement from football at the age of 36.

The former Barcelona and Villarreal man finished his career with Argentinos Juniors.

Riquelme played 51 times for his country during his career.

Joan Roman Riquelme is looking to the future. Credit: Reuters

"I've decided to stop playing football. Sunday used to be the most beautiful day of the week, I went on the pitch and did what I liked best. Now I'll be a fan.

"To carry on playing there would have had to be something that interested me. I thought it was best to say that I won't play anymore."

Striker Drogba wants to stay with Chelsea for long-term

Didier Drogba says he doesn't want to leave Chelsea in the summer when his contract expires.

It is thought the Ivorian will be offered the chance to take up a coaching role at Stamford Bridge when his playing days come to an end.

Didier Dorgba Credit: PA

"When you have achieved so much and won so many trophies like we have done in the past 10 years, that creates something special," Drogba said.

"I hope, and the club makes me believe, I am part of this big family, so we are going to find the best thing for both of us to promote the club in the best way."

Drogba added: "When I left this club (the first time), I was saying that I had done everything I wanted to do, but I think now that I did not do everything, I think there is more to do.

"I love this club and would love to be part of this club for the future, with the new players."

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