Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge is set for a January return, according to manager Brendan Rodgers, who hinted he was unlikely to dip into the transfer market to solve the club's current striker issues.
Sturridge last played for Liverpool in August after suffering a thigh injury on international duty with England and his absence has been keenly felt as the Merseysiders have struggled for goals and consistency in a disappointing start to the season.
With close-season signing Mario Balotelli failing to score a Premier League goal and Rickie Lambert, another summer arrival, struggling to cement a place in the side, Sturridge's return to action cannot come soon enough for last season's runners-up.
"He's coming back into the country in early January to finalise his rehab here," Rodgers told reporters on Wednesday.
"Hopefully at some point in January – the middle to end – he'll be available to play."
Rodgers has drafted Raheem Sterling into a makeshift centre forward role in recent weeks in an effort to replicate last season's scintillating attacking play, but he said he does not expect any new arrivals in January.
"My first look is always within," he said. "We have seen how we have adapted the team and the structure of the team in order to make that work. I still think we've got players that can do that for us.
"So there won't be much activity for us in January. We brought in a lot of players over the course of the summer that we feel can develop, and those players are now starting to adapt to the life here at Liverpool and our way of working.
"There won't be a lot of transfer activity from us - if any - over the course of the January period. My job is to coach and manage the players that are currently here and work hard at maximising the talent that they have. That's what we'll look to do."
Liverpool, chasing a third successive Premier League victory, host Leicester City on Thursday.
They will be without centre back Martin Skrtel, who is suspended, but could welcome back Dejan Lovren after a groin injury.
"Dejan has only been back training in the last couple of days. We'll see how he is today and then we'll take it from there," Rodgers said.
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