Friday 27 April 2018

Sturridge fitness is already a sore point for Klopp

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp

Simon Hughes

In an interview of four questions where three answers were generous in length, it was only when Jürgen Klopp considered the availability of Daniel Sturridge right at the end that the briefest and most pertinent reply arrived.

Klopp was asked whether the striker, who has missed the last two matches with a knee injury sustained in training before last weekend's match at Tottenham, would feature when Southampton visit Anfield in the Premier League tomorrow.

"I don't know," he said, dragging pauses between each word, as if he appreciates already that this is a topic he will be quizzed about regularly while he is in charge of Liverpool, perhaps revealing that there is some fatigue on the subject even at this early stage of his reign.

Klopp has done his best so far to layer senses of responsibility across his team.

However, following a 1-1 draw against 10-man Rubin Kazan in the Europa League on Thursday, he alluded to the idea that the difference between success and failure for him as manager will be defined by the actions of the centre-forward.

"If you take Messi out of Barcelona for a year, ask them how they feel," Klopp suggested, before applying the same rule to Sergio Aguero at Manchester City and Robert Lewandowski at Bayern Munich.

Then there was an important caveat.

"We have the strikers we need and you will not hear from me 'with Sturridge we can do this' or 'with Benteke we can do this' because I am really satisfied with the guys on the pitch," he said.

In the recent absence of Sturridge, Christian Benteke (now back after injury) and Danny Ings, Divock Origi has led the front line in each of Klopp's first two games; impressing with his work rate but not so much with his shooting conviction or choice of pass, or much else for that matter.

Klopp stressed that it was the media's role not to expect too much from a 20-year-old by insisting he will offer the Belgian ample opportunity to settle following his summer move from Lille.

"I give them the time, I have no problem with this," he said. "You have to decide if you want to help. I don't read newspapers but the players will. Cool down and don't be too hard with them. (© Independent News Service)

Liverpool v Southampton,

Live Sky Sports 1, 4.15 tomorrow

Independent News Service

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