Brendan Rodgers: No early Liverpool return for Lille loan striker Divock Origi
LIVERPOOL -- Brendan Rodgers says he will not be recalling striker Divock Origi from Lille in January despite Daniel Sturridge's latest injury setback for Liverpool.
Sturridge, 25, has not played for the Reds since August and is out until the New Year after tearing a thigh muscle in training on Tuesday -- his third injury of the season.
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Belgium international Origi was signed from Lille during the summer in a deal worth 10 million pounds, but the French club only allowed the move to go through on the condition that the 19-year-old was loaned back to them for the 2014-15 campaign.
Reports on Thursday suggested that Liverpool were considering paying extra to end the loan agreement early and bring Origi over in January, but Rodgers says there are no plans for that to happen.
"The young player we signed last summer, it was always on the understanding that he had to stay at Lille," he told his pregame news conference.
"I've seen reports that he'll be coming back early but that was never the case. When we signed the player, it was one of the main reasons we were able to sign him -- he would have to stay at Lille for this season.
"The deal was put in place quite clearly in the summer that he would stay at Lille for the season, and then we would get him after that. As far as I'm concerned, that's still the case."
Rodgers, meanwhile, says that Sturridge does not deserve any of the blame for his catalogue of injury setbacks.
"He's been extremely unfortunate," Rodgers continued. "The last time he played was August. He's a player who doesn't want to be out for this length of time. With his ability and all of the qualities he has, he wants to be playing football.
"I think now's the time for him to go away and for us to go away and see what more we can do to get him on to the pitch consistently. He's a world-class talent, and he'll only fulfil that if he's playing games. But nobody wants that more than Daniel. He wants to be working and he wants to be playing.
"I spoke to him today at length and he's as down as I've ever seen anyone in terms of not being able to help the team at the moment.
"He'll go away into the New Year, and along with the medics and everyone at the club, we'll need to look to find the answers to get him to perform at a consistent level with Liverpool."
Vice-captain Jordan Henderson is expected to be fit for Sunday's Premier League trip to Crystal Palace despite missing England's 3-1 friendly win over Scotland in Glasgow on Tuesday with a minor hamstring complaint.
But striker Mario Balotelli is still recovering from that groin problem that forced him to pull out of the Italy squad for the recent Euro 2016 qualifier against Croatia.
Rodgers added: "Jordan missed the game against Scotland as a precaution. There was a slight tightness there, so he wasn't risked. He should be fine for the weekend.
"Mario's had an issue with the Italian squad, which he returned from, but we'll assess that over the next couple of days."