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Premier League: Raheem Sterling wants Daniel Sturridge return for Liverpool

Image: Daniel Sturridge: Nearing return with Liverpool from thigh problem

Raheem Sterling says having England team-mate Daniel Sturridge back in the team will help Liverpool climb the Premier League table.

Last season's runners-up were beaten 3-1 by West Ham on Saturday and languish in 11th with six points from five matches.

Sturridge hurt his thigh on England duty at the start of this month and Sterling said: "Daniel is a massive miss for us with his goals and the way he plays in behind defenders.

"Him coming back should add another dimension to the team. It will definitely be a test of character but I think there is a lot of character in this group."

Sturridge is nearing a return to action after stepping up his training programme at Melwood but Tuesday's Capital One Cup visit of Middlesbrough is likely to come too soon.

Live Capital One Cup Football

Sterling though insisted the Reds would not use their return to the Champions League as the reason for their bad run of form.

He said: "We can't use playing in the Champions League as an excuse because there are other teams in the Premier League doing exactly the same as us who are winning games.

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"The games are coming thick and fast but that's what we want - to be competing at the top end of the Premier League and in the Champions League.

"What it means now is that after the second recovery day after a game we're straight back into another game. That's the way it's going to be this season and that's something we need to get used to.

"We've got the likes of Daniel Sturridge and Joe Allen to come back from injury but we should be winning games with the players we've got out on that pitch.

"We need to get back to basics and start winning games again. We'll get back to the training field and go again on Tuesday night against Middlesbrough in the League Cup.

"We have definitely got the quality to make the top four. It's down to us to get things right and get back to playing the way we all know we can.

"It's concerning but we have got to put it behind us and go again. Our focus has to turn to the next game now. We need to bounce back."

Watch Liverpool v Middlesbrough on Sky Sports 1HD from 19.30 on Tuesday

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