Liverpool fans spent two years wondering if Daniel Sturridge could find something resembling fitness. It hasn’t taken two months of him staying fit for some of those same fans—along with a fair few in the media—to begin to wonder why he isn’t playing every minute of every match.
"Yes, he could be involved, 100%," Jürgen Klopp said when faced with the inevitable question about whether Daniel Sturridge would start on Thursday against Villarreal. The manager, though, wasn’t ready to go beyond saying that his star striker would be involved, keeping coy about his tactics for the upcoming match.
"I’ve made no decision yet about the lineup," Klopp continued, "so if you want to talk about this then we will have to think about how will we start in the game, how will we change in the game, how will react to different situations. That’s what I think about. And in all of this of course Daniel Sturridge is involved."
Though Sturridge has stayed healthy for a few months now, there remain questions as to whether he’s robust enough to build a side around, and that along with match-specific tactics that at times have called for a different sort of focal point in attack has meant the Liverpool manager hasn’t always started Sturridge.
That in turn has led to speculation, rumours, and a fair bit of hand-wringing. Because if somebody thinks that a finally healthy Sturridge shouldn’t be a problem for Liverpool, that somebody doesn’t know Liverpool and that absolutely anything and everything can be spun until it’s a problem in some way or other.
So. Daniel Sturridge will play on Thursday. That at least seems certain—or as close to certain as one can get in football. And he will either start or come off the bench depending on his energy levels and the tactics and personnel Klopp decides on based on what he thinks gives Liverpool their best chance. Simple.
"This game is a big opportunity in a difficult season for Liverpool," the manager added. "When I think about my team, I never limit where I think they can go. I’m not interested. The players have given me a lot of positive signs about they’re quality and we don’t have to think too much. We are ready."