Daniel Sturridge is one of the best strikers in the Premier League. Maybe even in the world. Or at least he is when he's fit, something that over the past year has proven difficult. Liverpool fans have largely reached a point where they believe the club can't rely on the striker to stay healthy; that a healthy Sturridge should be treated as a bonus rather than expected.
That point was driven home over the weekend when, just a few short weeks from returning to action, the striker was ruled out of the Tottenham match with a knee injury picked up in training. Liverpool fans collectively sighed and shrugged. It was disappointing news, but hardly surprising. New manager Jürgen Klopp, though, insists he has full faith in Liverpool's star attacker.
"I have known Daniel for one week, and for six days he was perfect," said Klopp when asked about Sturridge's status following Satrurday's match. "Everything we did, he was full of power, skills. He was outstanding. He did so many good things and then he got this contact. In another situation I would have talked to him and said, ‘please try.' But we can't in a week of two ACL injuries."
If there's any positive to be found in news of another Sturridge knock, it's that he was fit enough that in other circumstances he might still have played—early in the season and with two players having just suffered season-ending ACL tears, though, made this situation one that called for a cautious approach. And, having sat out over the weekend, Sturridge is expected to face Rubin Kazan.
"It is okay for Daniel," continued to the Liverpool manager. "We need him for sure, and if we played that game on Thursday then maybe he would play, no problems. I trust him 100%, and if he is back then he plays and no problem. If not then I don't think about it, because if the medics and physiotherapists tell me it's not possible it's not possible and I just think about another solution."
If the worst does happen and, contrary to expectations, Sturridge remains out for Thursday's Europa League match, the good news for Liverpool and Klopp is that both Roberto Firmino and Christian Benteke are expected to also be in the running. Whether either is ready to start would be another question, but it should at the very least mean Klopp has some firepower on the bench.
Following Thursday's game against Rubin Kazan, Liverpool host Southampton in the league and Bournemouth in the League Cup before rounding out the month with a trip to face struggling Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.