Saturday 3 December 2016

Klopp delighted as talented Sturridge back in contention for Villa game after lengthy injury lay-off

Mike Whalley

Published 14/02/2016 | 02:30

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

Jurgen Klopp smiled when it was pointed out to him that Daniel Sturridge had started 13 of Liverpool's last 95 competitive matches. As far as the England forward is concerned, Klopp wants to think only of an injury-free future.

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"The cool thing about this statistic is that it is absolutely not interesting any more," Liverpool's manager said. "He is in training and he has featured in one of the last two games, so that's 50 per cent. That's not bad."

The past 17 months have been frustrating for Sturridge, who has been kept sidelined by one setback after another. He has not started a Premier League match in the four months since Klopp took charge at Anfield.

But, at last, there are rays of light. The striker made his latest attempt at a comeback during their FA Cup fourth-round replay defeat at West Ham. He did not score, but he demonstrated an alertness that reminded everyone watching of just what a dangerous player he can be.

Having emerged unscathed after a 61-minute appearance at Upton Park, Sturridge is now in contention to play this afternoon when Liverpool visit Aston Villa in the Premier League.

Klopp said: "Of course, he's not 100 per cent. Who could be after this injury? But he is in a good way and that's a good thing. It would be really silly if we always make a shadow on the present by thinking about the past.

"It's really normal that everybody is asking about Daniel. He is one of the most talented players I have ever seen, for sure.

"And he was unavailable, so everybody was waiting. If nobody was waiting, then he wouldn't have quality. That's how it is.

"Football looks so easy when he plays. Nobody had a doubt about this for one second. That's good for us."

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