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Sunday 4 December 2016

Klopp refusing to rush Daniel Sturridge as striker nears return

Chris Bascombe

Published 26/11/2015 | 02:30

Jurgen Klopp is waiting until Daniel Sturridge is 'more robust' before giving him a start
Jurgen Klopp is waiting until Daniel Sturridge is 'more robust' before giving him a start

Jurgen Klopp is likely to notice Anfield's early leaving club again tonight, regardless of whether Liverpool are winning or losing against Bordeaux.

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The German coach noted an affliction affecting all Premier League grounds at the end of Liverpool's last home fixture against Crystal Palace, fans heading to the exit with ten minutes to play.

Klopp is under the misapprehension the premature rush for the gates reflects a lack of confidence in his side, a point he re-emphasised when Liverpool defeated Manchester City on Saturday.

"It is our responsibility to keep them in their seat," he said.

In reality, he is being too hard on his players - impatient fans leave early because of the horrendous traffic congestion in the city on match days.

Klopp is showing commendable patience of his own with Daniel Sturridge and insists the striker must prove he is more "robust" before he is fully thrown back into first-team action.

Daniel Sturridge has declared himself fit for tomorrow's game against his former club but Jurgen Klopp is still to decide if he is ready to return
Daniel Sturridge has declared himself fit for tomorrow's game against his former club but Jurgen Klopp is still to decide if he is ready to return

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The 26-year-old was on the bench for Saturday's 4-1 win at Manchester City, the first time he has featured in a match-day squad for the German, but that does not mean he will get a run-out in the Europa League at home to Bordeaux today.

Klopp has stressed the need for the England international to prove he will not suffer any more injury breakdowns, having seen last season decimated by thigh and calf problems, resulting in a hip operation in May.

His latest issue was a knock to his knee in training and, while he has recovered from that, it does not mean an instant return to the starting line-up.

"Daniel is coming closer and closer so he can train now seven or eight times in a row - that is the longest period since I've been here - and that will help him and in the end help us," Klopp said.

"(His return) is closer and that is very good. The most important thing in these weeks is he can train without problems. We have to try to bring in a situation where he is more robust.

"If he is feeling in a good moment maybe a few minutes - or more - we will see in the game."

Klopp may opt to use Christian Benteke against the French side, having utilised the Belgium international off the bench at the Etihad Stadium in order to implement his game-plan.

Dejan Lovren will be one of the centre-backs to start, having regained his place following Mamadou Sakho's knee injury.

The Croatia international has experienced the highs and lows in his first two league matches back - the home defeat to Crystal Palace when he came on for the stricken Frenchman and Saturday's win at Manchester City.

Confidence is high after that result and Lovren insists that was not shaken by the loss to Palace earlier this month.

"After the game against Chelsea (which they won 3-1), we already felt we had the confidence," the defender said.

As for Bordeaux, coach Willy Sagnol knows his side are not the favourites either in the match or to progress from Group B, but he remains upbeat.

"This is a special moment for the club and for many reasons," he said.

"First because we have a small chance to qualify. We cannot compete in a full season with a team like Liverpool but in a single match, with the mindset that we have displayed in recent matches, we can succeed."

Liverpool v Bordeaux, Live, 3e/BT Sport Europe, 8.05

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