Wednesday 13 December 2017

Jurgen Klopp suggests Daniel Sturridge's future is very much at Liverpool

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, right, with Daniel Sturridge
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, right, with Daniel Sturridge

Chris Bascombe

Jürgen Klopp has shrugged off concerns about Daniel Sturridge’s goal drought and assured the Liverpool striker “even Gerd Müller had streaks like this”.

Sturridge is yet to score in the Premier League this season. His last league goal was in April last year – an unimaginable barren spell for a player whose previous strike rate was as good as any in Anfield history. Perhaps of greater concern for Sturridge is he is expected to lose his place if Adam Lallana returns to the starting line-up against West Bromwich Albion on Saturday. When Klopp has all his options fit, this has been the norm.

Yet Klopp remains adamant Sturridge is evolving his game to adapt to the new style of play. “It is a very useful moment in his career,” said Klopp. “A big name. [Robert] Lewandowski. There were times when he didn’t score. Gerd Müller. There were games he didn’t score. I still can’t believe it. You look back on his career and he scored 600 times but there were moments when he didn’t score.

“This moment is a good moment for Dan. It is not easy. Most of his time in his life, football has been so easy because he is so skilled. The right moment, easy goal, simple goal. Every player struggles with this or this. Little problem here, little problem there. We had a game against Manchester United and, yes, it was not easy for him. We didn’t play well, he didn’t play with 100 per cent confidence.

“Make a shooting exercise and there are still tears in your eyes when you see it and you are like ‘f---ing hell. That is unbelievable’, but then you see the games. There are no easy one, two, three situations where he could have scored.”

Klopp says he is taking as much satisfaction from seeing Sturridge’s work to help his team-mates.

“The [Roberto Firmino] goal against Leicester was the goal of the season so far because it was the kind of movement that we have been working so hard on,” he said.

“Then you see it come off – especially from a striker who doesn’t score enough for his self-understanding or in the public view. He makes this way, out of the box, to take two defenders with him and then it opens everything. It is a sign of development.”

Despite that, the return of Lallana to 100 per cent fitness and Gini Wijnaldum’s return to fitness gives Klopp a decision for West Bromwich Albion’s visit. “The last game is not the biggest influence on my line up on Saturday,” he said.

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