Saturday 19 January 2019

Sturridge in Baggies loan as Klopp hits out at BT

Daniel Sturridge has joined West Brom on loan
Daniel Sturridge has joined West Brom on loan

Chris Bascombe

Daniel Sturridge is heading to West Bromwich Albion in a £3.8 million (€4.3m) loan deal after the Liverpool striker snubbed Newcastle United at the last minute. Sturridge was considering a move to the North-East, only for Alan Pardew to convince the England striker to return where he was raised in the Midlands.

The geographical pull of being closer to home worked in West Brom's favour and the 28-year-old was undergoing a medical yesterday with a deal announced last night.

It is a coup for West Brom and Pardew to secure a player of Sturridge's class. Liverpool decided to allow Sturridge to go, but only on favourable financial terms.

They will receive a £2m loan fee, while West Brom agreed to pay all his wages. That amounts to a further £1.8 million (€2.27m) between now and the duration of his temporary contract.

Jurgen Klopp, the Liverpool manager, was rarely using Sturridge and believes Danny Ings and Dominic Solanke can provide cover and competition for Roberto Firmino.

West Brom may yet add Watford's Troy Deeney to their forward line before tomorrow's transfer deadline. That would open the way for Salomon Rondon - a Chelsea target - to leave the club.

While Pardew prepares to celebrate a prize capture, there is acute disappointment at St James' Park as yet another target eludes Rafael Benitez. He is desperate for a striker and thought he had the upper hand in the Sturridge pursuit.

From Liverpool's perspective, yet another high-profile name has departed after Philippe Coutinho's sale to Barcelona - the Brazilian returned to Melwood for a brief visit yesterday to say a formal goodbye to team-mates and staff.

Klopp insists he is happy with his squad, even if recent defeats have raised questions about the strength of his playing pool as they refocus on trying to progress in the Champions League and qualify for the competition next season.

Liverpool travel to Huddersfield tonight, with Klopp suggesting the explanation for the recent dip in results begins with the work-rate of his strikers. "Since (the Manchester City win), our offensive positions didn't defend as well as then, for example," Klopp said. "That's the truth. These boys, we know potential-wise, are world class. But real world class is to bring it on the pitch again and again and again.

"We had two completely different games, but especially against West Brom compared to Swansea. We needed all positions to be involved in defending.


"West Brom were not only the most experienced team age-wise that's ever played, they had quality with (Jay) Rodriguez. If he wasn't injured for two years, he'd be on another level and he is in a good moment for West Brom. They are a good team."

Klopp, meanwhile, has made the extraordinary claim that added time was cut short during his side's FA Cup fourth-round defeat to West Bromwich Albion for broadcast purposes.

Liverpool were beaten 3-2 by West Brom, and the German coach was bemused by how little time was added, particularly at the end of the first half.

He says there were at least 10 minutes worth of stoppages, inclusive of a four-minute delay as VAR was consulted prior to the awarding of Firmino's penalty.

"What I heard was that the actual extra time in the first half should have been 10 minutes," said Klopp.

"It was only four minutes. I heard that television said it's not longer than four minutes. Of course that's not possible, you can't cut match time because there is something else to broadcast. I don't know what was afterwards, maybe the news or something."

The game was screened live by BT Sports at prime time on Saturday evening. Klopp said the game time could never be compromised simply because the game is being broadcast live. The same channel will show Liverpool's game against Huddersfield tonight.

"It was 10 minutes and so you need to play 10 minutes longer. You cannot say its now a little bit too long," he added.

BT Sport, however, refuted Klopp's claims in a statement, saying: "As broadcaster we have nothing to do with the decision that the referee makes about the amount of added time that is played in a game".

Huddersfield v Liverpool,
Live, BT Sports 1,8.0

Irish Independent

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