The relationship between Daniel Sturridge and Jurgen Klopp has been a little complex ever since the latter replaced Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool back in October.
A month after arriving at Anfield, Klopp told reporters that Sturridge must learn “what is serious pain or what is only pain” in reference to the number of games he was missing through injury.
And since returning to full fitness, Sturridge has sometimes found himself on the substitutes’ bench with Klopp preferring to deploy 21-year-old Divock Origi instead.
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Even after he scored what turned out to be the winning goal against Bournemouth on Sunday afternoon, Klopp vehemently disagreed with a journalist who suggested the 26-year-old had won the match for the Reds.
The German coach is also adamant that Sturridge is still not capable of playing every minute for Liverpool between now and the end of the season - and insists the striker cannot be treated like an ‘orange’.
Klopp: I can't treat Sturridge like an orange
“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.
“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.”
Klopp: Sturridge and Origi could play together
Sturridge will be hoping to start in the Merseyside derby against Everton on Wednesday night - he’s one away from reaching 50 goals for the Reds - in place of Origi.
However, Klopp insists that both strikers could play together if required.
“Of course they could. They have shown that they can play together,” he continued.
“They can be very good together. 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.”
Klopp regrets hitting out at journalist
Klopp also revealed that he regrets hitting out at the journalist who argued that Sturridge had secured all three points against the Cherries.
He added: “After a game when there had been five, new young players, you ask me about this? So I said ‘hey, come on’.
“I could have reacted completely different. I would have now. Maybe if someone had put his fat ass on the red button (to mute the microphone) then he could have stopped it!”
Will Daniel Sturridge still be a Liverpool player next season? Have your say by leaving a comment below.