Liverpool started the season with four strikers and plenty of questions about just how they would all get enough playing time to keep them happy. Six months later, they’re ending the calendar year with three of them on the injured list and only Christian Benteke fit to face Sunderland on Wednesday.
"I can’t say too much about Divock [Origi] because at the moment I don’t have the results of the scan," began manager Jürgen Klopp when asked about the latest Liverpool striker to wind up on the injured list. "The press conference is a little early for this information, but if there is no miracle then he is not available next game."
Origi suffered a hamstring strain in the first half against Leicester City. The young striker had been Liverpool’s best player at the time, lively and dangerous. In fact, with Danny Ings out for the year, Sturridge continuing to struggle for fitness, and Benteke mostly just struggling, Origi has begun to look Liverpool’s best option up top.
Benteke, though, did score the winning goal against Leicester after coming on—even if outside of the strike, he continued to frustrate. The hope will be that the goal gives him confidence, and that the big Belgian can begin to show his real quality after disappointing through the autumn. With everyone else out, he’ll at least get a chance.
"He has to train," said Klopp when asked about Sturridge’s timeline for a potential return. "We cannot change the situation and have to train with him for now. Last week and this week are the most intensive weeks for Daniel Sturridge over the last three years, and you can see that’s what we have to do.
"I say I don’t want to see him in training because everyone goes, ‘oh my god, bring him on.’" That’s his quality. But we have to be really patient at this moment. We have to wait and we have to train and we have to give his body the right information before he can go. Then maybe we talk about Sturridge for the next 10 years."
Elsewhere, the manager revealed that Jordon Ibe could be fit to face Sunderland on Wednesday, adding another attacking option to the mix. However, James Milner will need another week before he’s ready to play again.