A depressing but important stat from Sunday's match against Bournemouth was that it marked the first time in two years that Daniel Sturridge had started four league matches in a row. Sturridge turned in a man of the match performance that had many speculating he was Totally Fit For Real This Time™, but Jürgen Klopp was quick to put the kibosh on any ideas that Sturridge might be a nailed on starter for the remainder of Liverpool's matches this season.
“If you think Daniel Sturridge can play from the first to the last minute in the last nine games, fine,” Klopp said. “Yes, he is in brilliant shape. I know it. The best thing for us, for him and for England for the European Championships is to keep him in the best shape since I have been here.
“Now we can say ‘Oh my God, Daniel is back, let’s push him through all these games!’ Yeah? If you think that is right, write it. If not, don’t ask me anymore. We will do what we think. But still, after this long period, you cannot use him as an orange and take each little bit of the juice.”
It's unlikely that any journalist would be willing to hang their hat on an assertion that Sturridge can definitely, absolutely play ninety minutes for nine games straight without incident. Orangensaft metaphors aside, Klopp isn't worried. The budding partnership between Sturridge and Divock Origi gives the manager a variety of options to choose from in any given match, and he isn't always going to make the same choice in each of Liverpool's remaining games.
“They can be very good together," Klopp confirmed. "But at the end, we have to find the solution. Who knows whether I start with one or two or someone comes on and makes a big difference in the game. It is a great situation and hopefully it stays like this.”