Daniel Sturridge is expected to start upfront for Liverpool in their biggest match of the season this evening: the Europa League final against Sevilla in Basel.
The striker, who was left out of Jurgen Klopp’s starting line-up for the semi-final first leg against Villarreal but made a big impact in the return match at Anfield, looked full of confidence in the Reds’ final training session on Tuesday.
BT Sport were filming Liverpool’s stars being put through their paces in a practice match when, right on cue, Sturridge scored with a classy backheel - nutmegging goalkeeper Danny Ward in the process. (Scroll down this page to watch the video).
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Steve McManaman wasn’t particularly impressed, though. The former Liverpool star, speaking in the studio, simply said: “That’s normal, that. That’s easy enough.” Didn’t see too many of those finishes during your career, Steve.
McManaman’s BT Sport colleague Michael Owen, however, explained why Sturridge’s goal might be important in the grand scheme of things.
“It’s great as a centre-forward, though, from a mental point of view,” the retired striker commented. “Coming to a stadium like this, just getting your bearings. Actually knocking the ball and feeling it hit the back of the net gives you loads of confidence as a centre-forward. You think ‘right, I can score at this stadium’.”
Video: Sturridge's goal in training
Sturridge now looks set to stay at Liverpool
Several weeks ago, Sturridge’s future as a Liverpool player appeared to be in the balance.
However, the 26-year-old has proved his fitness to Klopp since then and it would be a surprise if he doesn’t start next season at Anfield.
Klopp has managed Sturridge carefully
Knowing his susceptible to injury Sturridge was after he returned from his latest injury lay off, Klopp told reporters that it was important he didn’t treat the striker “like an orange” - an unusual analogy but one that made a lot of sense.
“If you think Daniel Sturridge can play from the first to the last minute in the last nine games, fine,” Klopp was quoted as saying by the Liverpool Echo last month.
“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.”
Will Daniel Sturridge still be at Liverpool next season? Have your say by leaving a comment below.