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Sturridge set for start of season

Liverpool are optimistic that Daniel Sturridge will be fit in time for the start of the season despite an ankle injury suffered while on international duty.

Sturridge limped off with the problem during England's 1-1 friendly draw against the Republic of Ireland at Wembley on May 29.

Liverpool's medical staff were forced to wait for more than a week for swelling around the injury to go down before making a proper assessment, with fears Sturridge may have sustained ligament damage and be forced to endure a four month stint on the sidelines.

But the club have allayed those fears, confident that the 23-year-old striker will be fit for the beginning of the Premier League season in August.

A statement on the club website read: "Liverpool Football Club hope to have striker Daniel Sturridge available for the beginning of the 2013-14 Barclays Premier League campaign. Sturridge's ankle injury has been reviewed by a specialist."

Manager Brendan Rodgers is desperate for Sturridge to be available, as there is a large degree of uncertainty over his other striking options.

A £7.7 million deal for Celta Vigo forward Iago Aspas is expected to go through shortly, but last season's top scorer, Luis Suarez, has indicated that he wants to leave.

Even if a transfer for the Uruguay international does not materialise, he will be suspended for the first six games of the season, having been banned for 10 matches in April for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic.

In addition, Liverpool have agreed to sell Andy Carroll to West Ham for £15 million, and the deal is waiting only for the England forward's acceptance.

Meanwhile, Liverpool have agreed to play a pre-season friendly at League One side Preston on July 13.

The friendly will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Bill Shankly, who spent 16 years as a player at Preston before transforming Liverpool from second-tier also-rans into one of Europe's biggest clubs, managing them between 1959 and 1974.

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