The league table is a rather enjoyable read for Jurgen Klopp right now.
Despite having been at the Anfield reins for just over a year, he has propelled his side into the top four and in with a realistic shot at the title. His squad has been in fine form and has helped the Reds secure victories at Chelsea and Arsenal.
However, it’s one of Liverpool’s struggling players that has Klopp has heaped praise on recently. In fact, the German has stated that he’s so good in training that it brings a tear to his eye.
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When Daniel Sturridge is on song, there are few better finishers in the Premier League.
However, the Englishman hasn’t been fit and firing for several months now and has gone an unprecedented 616 minutes without a league goal. It’s certainly not the form you’d expected from a starting striker for Liverpool and England.
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Nevertheless, on the pitch at Melwood, Klopp is left welling up by the potency of Sturridge’s finishing and the poetry of his dribbling.
It’s no secret that the 27-year-old has bundles of talent, but this proves rather unexpected and perhaps exaggerated praise.
According to the Liverpool Echo, Klopp explained: “If we have a shooting exercise, there are still tears in your eyes when you see him and think: ‘oh f****** hell, what is that? That is unbelievable!’
“But then you see the games. There are no easy one, two, three situations where he could have scored and you think ‘uh-oh, he should have scored’.
So, it’s all well and good that Sturridge produces the goods in training, but what about when chips are down in big matches? Klopp can’t seem to put his finger on the problem and as to why his star striker is struggling so much.
The German goes onto say: “I’ve been here a year, and even I have thought in some moments: ‘Ball… Sturridge…. Goal. Oh No!’ There are moments when you think he should score and he doesn’t but you have to carry on.
“It is a very important and very useful moment in his career.
“A big name.... (Robert) Lewandowski. There were times when he didn’t score. Gerd Muller! There were games he didn’t score.
“I still can’t believe it. You look back on his career and he scored 600 times but there were moments when he didn’t score.
“It is only to handle situations like this. It is not to make too big a thing about it.”
While it’s true that even the finest strikers go through dry spells, it’s hard to imagine Muller experiencing such a yawning barren period. After all, his last league goal came against a team in Newcastle that now embark on away trips to Rotherham.
Regardless though, it can only be positive for Sturridge’s intended return to form that he has such backing from his manager. Besides, if Klopp’s comments are to be taken literally, the 27-year-old has moves to make coaches break down.
Even so, he’ll have to start finding the net soon otherwise Divock Origi and co. will be waiting enthusiastically in the wings.
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