Klopp happy with Sturridge's comeback

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp.
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Juergen Klopp said Daniel Sturridge provided the ideal response to being dropped after starring on his return to the first team in Liverpool's 2-1 win at Bournemouth.

Sturridge had been left on the bench for Thursday's Europa League quarter-final second-leg victory over Borussia Dortmund, just as he had been for the first leg a week previously against Klopp's former club.

On both occasions, the striker has returned with a goal after being restored to the team, first against Stoke City and then again in Sunday's victory at Bournemouth that moved Liverpool up to eighth place in the Premier League table.

Sturridge also provided the assist for Roberto Firmino to put Liverpool ahead against Eddie Howe's side, and could have added to the visitors' tally but twice struck the woodwork.

With the England player's long-term future at Anfield in the spotlight following another injury-affected campaign that has forced him to watch from the sideline for much of the season, Sturridge appears to be running into form at exactly the right time, with six goals in eight Premier League starts.

Liverpool manager Klopp said: "Yes (it was the response I wanted), He really is in really good shape, mental-wise and physical-wise it's really good, and for us so important, because, for example, Roberto Firmino now has an injury problem after he was in perfect shape."

Divock Origi started both games against Dortmund ahead of Sturridge and with Everton due to visit Anfield for tomorrow's Merseyside derby, Klopp made it clear nobody can be sure of their place.

"Nobody is undroppable," said the German. "I never look at any player and think, 'I can't leave him out'. As a manager I decide if I play with one, two, three or four strikers."

Sturridge's inclusion against Bournemouth was one of 10 changes made by Klopp to the line-up that started against Dortmund, with Firmino the only player to keep his place.

The Reds manager handed a Premier League debut to goalkeeper Danny Ward and also included youngsters Brad Smith, Connor Randall, Kevin Stewart and Sheyi Ojo in his side.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 19, 2016, with the headline 'Klopp happy with Sturridge's comeback'. Print Edition | Subscribe