It was a moment Liverpool fans had been waiting for a long, long, long time: Daniel Sturridge's first start under Jürgen Klopp in the league. Despite making a scattering of substitute appearances under the German over the last few months, the forever injured striker hadn't started a match for Liverpool since the 1-1 derby draw against Everton on October 4, a match helmed by Brendan Rodgers nearly a lifetime ago.
Quite plainly, Liverpool have missed Sturridge and his wiggly, wriggly, wavy arms. After being named to the bench versus West Ham midweek and clocking his first minutes in over two months as a substitute, Klopp was finally ready to stark his glass man and was deeply pleased by the results.
"Of course, we need the goals of Daniel and he needs the goals - that's clear," Klopp said after the match in a bit of a stating-the-obvious moment. "But for me it is not [just about being] a striker, he can score of course, but how in tune he is with the team, his movements. He's a real striker, that's really good to see.
"Today it was brilliant, you saw he was not too happy when he came off - everything was ok and it was not like he gave a sign or something - but I think it made sense to put him out after 60-something minutes. It was ok, it was perfect for him and hopefully he will be available for the next game too."
For the past few months there have been concerns that Sturridge's head hasn't been in the game, ranging from him being too soft on his own injuries to him just not having enough passion for the game. That Sturridge, like former teammate Luis Suarez, seemed unhappy at being substituted -- despite all the perfectly reasonable reasons why he was eventually taken out -- should demonstrate to his doubters that despite any caution being taken over his injuries, in Sturridge Liverpool still have a player with an immense hunger for the game.
Though it's too early to name a team selection for Thursday's contest with Augsburg in Europa League, Klopp's precautions should position Sturridge well to play a major part in the first leg of the two-leg knock out round. Presumably, Sturridge will wrapped up in bubble wrap inside a padded room until a few hours until kick off.