• Premier League

Sturridge Chelsea future doubt as Liverpool loom

ESPN staff
December 19, 2012

Liverpool's Premier League clash against Fulham is exclusively live on ESPN on Saturday. Click here for how to subscribe

Rafael Benitez has refused to confirm Daniel Sturridge has a long-term future at Chelsea, amid talk Liverpool are closing in on a deal for the England international.

The Anfield team's interest in the Chelsea forward is long standing and ESPN sources claim negotiations between the two clubs having intensified over the past two weeks.

It is being claimed Sturridge could be a Liverpool player early in the transfer window - along with Tom Ince from Blackpool - but it was a topic Benitez did not want to go into detail on.

"He [Sturridge] was training with us, he is fine," Benitez said. "It is just a question of the club and some conversations with different options. But at the moment for me, as a coach, he is training and doing well. I can't say too much as I don't have much information."

One player who is unlikely to be leaving Chelsea in January, however, is Frank Lampard. It is understood that the decision has been taken to keep the veteran midfielder at Stamford Bridge until the summer, at the very least.

Benitez did reassert Lampard's importance to the team, despite the midfielder himself recently questioning his Chelsea future. The 34-year-old has only started one of three games since returning from injury at the start of December, but that may change now that Benitez is suffering such a spate of injuries and suspensions in midfield. Given the club's own lightness in that area, Lampard will at least stay until the end of the season.

"If you analyse our team, we don't have too many options in the middle of the park," Benitez said. "The fact he was playing some minutes against Monterrey and after against Corinthians. He is coming back and he will be okay.

"I will say to you he [Lampard] is fully committed, every training session, every game, an important player for us. I cannot say too much about what he feels, or what he doesn't feel, just that he is training well, he is doing well and I'm happy with his attitude."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.