clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Klopp: "He Is Still an Outstanding Player"

New, comments

Jürgen Klopp still has faith in the abilities of Daniel Sturridge despite injury problems and uncertainty over his position.

Liverpool v Sevilla - UEFA Europa League Final Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images

Can Daniel Sturridge be relied upon for an entire season? Since 2013/14—when Sturridge scored 21 goals in 29 appearances (26 starts)—featuring regularly has proven to be a problem due to a variety of injuries. Although quality never seems to be an issue with the England international, quantity remains a troublesome area.

The 26-year-old's knack for scoring goals remains as fearsome as ever, but after a lacklustre performance against Burnley, questions have been asked about the player's physical sharpness and speed. Maybe there will be an opportunity to work on that against Burton Albion before a trip to White Hart Lane to face Tottenham Hotspur.

Many Liverpool players came up short in the 2-0 defeat at Turf Moor on Saturday, but Divock Origi may count himself unlucky not to have started in the absence of Sadio Mané given his performances in pre-season. Instead, Jürgen Klopp sprang a surprise that didn't quite work and confused many as the game progressed.

Although Sturridge tends to drift into deep and wide positions from his natural centre forward role, Liverpool's manager appeared to instruct Liverpool's number 15 to play much wider than usual while Roberto Firmino primarily operated in a central role. Was this merely a tactical move or a sign of lacking trust in Sturridge's ability to lead the line?

"Daniel is still a very quick player but he's had a lot of injuries in the last few years and a few muscle issues - I have no idea how this exactly changes the mind of a player," Klopp said.

"He is still on the way back, but he is still an outstanding player, and even an outstanding player needs rhythm. Saturday was not the best game of football Daniel has ever played but, even in a game like this, he could have scored.

"I don't compare him with the younger Daniel Sturridge. He is a really good player with all you need, when he is fit. Obviously there is a bit I can do to help him but you have to accept as a manager that it is really rare you can say 100 per cent what a player wants to hear.

"What I can say, to any player, is that those who stay in the race and work really hard will get the benefit. That is how it is. Sometimes it is a little bit harder, sometimes easier, but that is the same for all of us."

Well, it seems that Sturridge has nothing to worry about from Klopp's comments. Playing Sturridge out wide was perplexing considering that he's clearly Liverpool's best striker, but the fact remains that Firmino is excellent in leading the press—a quality that Sturridge lacks. Both, however, are excellent and efficient goalscorers.

Playing Firmino behind Sturridge with Philippe Coutinho on the left and Sadio Mané on the right seems to be where the club's key attacking pieces fit. Adam Lallana covers each spot on the attacking band with Georginio Wijnaldum a dynamic option if needed. Despite the growing promise of Divock Origi and the ball-hunting zeal of Roberto Firmino, Daniel Sturridge's ability remains unmatched.