Monday 21 May 2018

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp insists he has no problems with Daniel Sturridge

Daniel Sturridge
Daniel Sturridge

Pete Oliver

Jurgen Klopp admits Daniel Sturridge is not happy to be omitted from Liverpool’s starting line-up but insists he has no issues with the striker’s well-being at Anfield.

Sturridge has started just one of Liverpool’s four games so far this season – a 2-0 Premier League defeat at Burnley with his two goals so far coming via the bench in a 5-0 Capital One Cup win Burton Albion.

The 27-year-old missed the opening game, Liverpool’s 4-3 win at Arsenal, with a hip injury sustained in pre-season and appeared only as an 88th-minute substitute as Klopp’ side drew 1-1 at Tottenham in their final fixture before the international break.

Sturridge didn’t appear impressed at his late entry at White Hart Lane and was then left out of the first starting XI selected by new manager Sam Allardyce as England won 1-0 in Slovakia in last weekend’s opening World Cup qualifier.

Injuries have dogged Sturridge’s time at Anfield with suggestions last year that Klopp’s patience was beginning to wear thin over his fitness record with the Liverpool manger saying, less than two months after his appointment on Merseyside, that the player needed to differentiate between serious pain and “only pain.”

The progress of Divock Origi under Klopp’s guidance has further eroded Sturridge’s status as Liverpool’s go-to striker, while Klopp employed an attacking trio of Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and summer signing Sadio Mane in the game at Tottenham.

Last month, Sturridge also expressed his unhappiness at being asked to play in a wide position by Klopp, while the usual round of transfer speculation predecing August’s transfer deadline suggested Liverpool might be tempted by a bid for the former Manchester City and Chelsea forward.

But Klopp again dismissed any talk of a rift with the player ahead of Saturday's visit of Premier League champions Leicester to a newly re-developed Anfield where Sturridge – who has scored 55 goals in 95 appearances for the club – could return to Liverpool’s starting line-up in front of a new £115m main stand which will lift the ground’s capacity to over 54,000.

“I don’t have for one second a problem with Daniel Sturridge,” said Klopp. “Since I am here we always speak about Daniel Sturridge. I have to make decisions, and I don’t make decisions because of transfer windows with the line-up.

“Of course, everything could start now. We now have two months not to talk about transfers and then it starts again because of the winter transfer window. That’s how it is.

“But really with Daniel there was not one second a problem that he’s not happy when he doesn’t start. I think a player has to be like this. That’s no problem.”

Independent News Service

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