Tuesday 24 April 2018

Jurgen Klopp jumps to defence of injury-plagued Sturridge

Daniel Sturridge's muscle injuries were traced to a hip problem
Daniel Sturridge's muscle injuries were traced to a hip problem

Chris Bascombe

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp took the decision to withdraw Daniel Sturridge from his squad for last Saturday's match against Tottenham and insists that he has "100pc trust" in the striker to overcome his injury issues.

Sturridge has been plagued by injuries in the past 18 months and a training-ground collision with Jordon Ibe on the eve of Klopp's first game in English football left Liverpool short of firepower.

With Danny Ings out for the season and Christian Benteke unavailable due to a hamstring injury, Liverpool were left with Divock Origi as the only striking option.

Klopp clarified why Sturridge was not asked to play through the pain barrier with his injured knee. "In another situation I would have said, 'Please try'. But we can't in a week of two ACLs (anterior cruciate ligament injuries). Come on.

"I know Daniel now since one week, and for six days he was perfect in training. Everything we did he was full of power, skills. He was outstanding.

"We need Daniel for sure and if we had played this game (against Tottenham) on Thursday then maybe he would play. I trust 100pc this player.

"If the medics and physiotherapists tell me it is not possible, it is not possible."


Sturridge sustained a series of muscle problems last season which were eventually traced to a hip complaint. He underwent surgery in the United States last spring in an effort to rid himself of chronic calf and thigh issues.

His absence last Saturday is being attributed to bad luck and poor timing, but his appearance record - just 94 Premier League starts at the age of 26 - has created a reputation for absenteeism.

Sturridge is expected to feature against Rubin Kazan in the Europa League on Thursday, and most likely Sunday's Premier League tie against Southampton.

Meanwhile, the turbulent reign of Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino took more dramatic twists yesterday.

In the morning, the Italian sacked head coach Uwe Rösler and replaced him with Steve Evans. By late afternoon, Cellino had been banned from running the club by the Football League for the second time in a year.

Cellino had earlier revealed he had dumped Rösler because "I wanted them to play heavy rock football but instead it was like country music."

Rösler, appointed in May, became the fifth Leeds head coach to be fired by the Italian in 17 months. He won twice in 11 Championship matches and leaves Elland Road with the club 18th in the table, three points above the relegation zone.


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