Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge likely to miss FA Cup semifinal - sources

Daniel Sturridge is unlikely to be fit for Liverpool's FA Cup semifinal against Aston Villa on Sunday, according to ESPN FC sources, with Raheem Sterling being tipped to take the central attacking role.

Sturridge, who has suffered with fitness problems throughout the season, is struggling with a hip strain after limping off during the 1-0 quarterfinal replay victory at Blackburn on April 8 and has not trained all week.

The striker has not yet been ruled out of Sunday's game but looks to be losing his battle to be fit to play at Wembley.

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has a range of alternative options to select from, with Fabio Borini and Rickie Lambert available along with Mario Balotelli, who has returned to full training after missing the last three games through illness and injury.

However, the Times reports that Sterling would lead the attack if his England colleague fails to prove his fitness.

Sterling has been involved in a string of recent controversies, most recently being pictured inhaling nitrous oxide, and his long-term future at the club remains uncertain.

Liverpool have publicly backed the 20-year-old, with chief executive Ian Ayre saying the player will stay at the club for a "long time," and the Mirror reports that Rodgers spoke to the player on Thursday to remind him of his responsibilities but also acknowledged the pressure he is under.