Reds optimistic over Sturridge
Liverpool hope to have striker Daniel Sturridge fit for the start of the season after he was injured on international duty.
The 23-year-old limped off in England's friendly against the Republic of Ireland just over a week ago with fears he had sustained ligament damage which would sideline him for up to four months. Liverpool's medical staff have had to wait for the swelling to subside and after seeing a specialist he has been diagnosed with an ankle sprain.
While they have not put a timescale on his recovery the club remain hopeful he will be available for the start of the new season. "Liverpool Football Club hope to have striker Daniel Sturridge available for the beginning of the 2013-14 Barclays Premier League campaign," said a statement on liverpoolfc.com
"Sturridge's ankle injury has been reviewed by a specialist. He suffered a high ankle sprain and Liverpool's medical staff had to allow the swelling to reduce before a final assessment was made."
Sturridge scored 11 goals in 16 appearances after his £12million January move from Chelsea. Were he to be unavailable for the start of next season it would leave manager Brendan Rodgers in a difficult position without a recognised senior striker.
Even if Luis Suarez, who seems increasingly likely to leave in the summer, is still at the club, he is suspended for six matches as he serves the remainder of a 10-match ban for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic.
Andy Carroll, who spent last season on loan at West Ham, does not have a future at Anfield and a £15million-plus deal has already been agreed with the Hammers that requires only the England international's agreement.
Rodgers will hope to bolster his attacking options by finalising a deal for Celta Vigo forward Iago Aspas in the next few days. A fee in the region of £8million was agreed with the Spanish club last week ahead of them staving off relegation from the Primera Division on the final day of the campaign.
If his signing is confirmed, Aspas' first appearance in a Liverpool shirt could come in a pre-season friendly against Preston on July 13. The Reds face Preston, who have they not met since an FA Cup tie in 2009, in the same year as the 100th anniversary of the birth of Bill Shankly - the Anfield club's iconic former manager and for 16 years a Lilywhites player.
Liverpool play at Deepdale just days before they start their pre-season tour which takes in Jakarta, Melbourne, Bangkok, Valerenga and Dublin. They will also play Olympiacos in Steven Gerrard's testimonial match at Anfield on August 3.