Jurgen Klopp trusts Daniel Sturridge to manage his own fitness - and claims the Liverpool striker was “perfect” during his first week in charge of training.
Sturridge, who missed most of last season through injury, was forced to sit out of Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Tottenham at White Hart Lane after suffering a minor knee injury following a collision with Jordon Ibe in training days earlier.
But the striker clearly made a big impression on Klopp, who has hailed the 26-year-old’s training-ground performances as “outstanding”.
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“I trust this player 100 per cent. If Daniel is fit, then he can play no problem,” the former Borussia Dortmund head coach was quoted as saying by the Mirror. "If he is not then I don’t think about it because if the medics and physiotherapists tell it is not possible, then it is not possible.
“I have known Daniel for one week and for six days he was perfect in training. Everything we did he was full of power, skills.
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"He was outstanding. There were so many good things and then he had this contact with Ibe.
“In another situation I would have talked to him and said ‘please try’. But we can’t in a week of two ACL injuries.
“It was okay for Daniel to miss the Tottenham match. We need Daniel for sure and if we played this game on Thursday then maybe he would play.”
Sturridge must stay fit and replicate form of 2013-14
Sturridge could return for Klopp’s second match in charge of Liverpool - a Europa League match against Rubin Kazan on Thursday evening - and should be available for Sunday’s Premier League clash against Southampton.
If Sturridge can replicate the form of 2013-14 - when he scored 24 goals in 33 appearances for the Reds - then Liverpool will have a great chance of achieving something special in Klopp’s debut season at Anfield.
However, the striker will need to buy into his manager’s philosophy in order to cement his status as Klopp’s number one striker - and that will involve covering more ground and performing more sprints per match than he’s ever done before.
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