Sunday Tribune

Klopp turns to Sturridge for top-four push


JURGEN Klopp is ready to put his trust in Daniel Sturridge as Liverpool’s Champions League quest reaches its decisive weekend.

Liverpool’s manager has a number of fitness worries for today’s trip to West Ham’s London Stadium, with Roberto Firmino struggling to make the squad. The Brazilian has been unable to train all week and is feeling the effects of a relentless personal campaign.

Sturridge, however, has a clean bill of health at the end of another season to forget because of injury. Only two weeks ago, many at Melwood thought his campaign would be over because of hip trouble.

He has, though, made cameo appearance­s against Watford and Southampto­n and now Klopp will give him his first Premier League start since January 2, if Firmino is unable to face West Ham.

“There was not a second of doubt about Daniel Sturridge,” said Klopp. “For all of us, it was unlucky that, at important moments, he was not available. That was not his fault. It was not my fault. It was only the situation. He’s an instinctiv­e footballer and a fantastic striker. It’s good news that he’s available.”

It has been a frustratin­g campaign for Sturridge and his manager. It is a year since the player completed 90 minutes in the Premier League, for instance, but his ability to score goals at big moments is not in question.

The onus will not be on Sturridge alone, though. Philippe Coutinho has a huge role to play against West Ham and Klopp does not believe the persistent speculatio­n linking the Brazilian with a move to Barcelona is preying on his mind. He is confident Coutinho will not be leaving in the summer.

“Before he signed the new contract there were rumours,” said Klopp. “After he signed there were rumours. What can you do to stop the rumours? I have no idea.” – Daily Mail

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