Klopp to assess Sturridge's fitness

LONDON • Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp revealed that he will make a late decision over whether to start Daniel Sturridge at Manchester City despite the striker's insistence that he is "fit and ready" to return to action.

The injury-prone England international missed the start of the season after returning from hip surgery and has made just three appearances this campaign. He has yet to feature under Klopp.

"He trained with us and, of course, he is not 100 per cent. I don't know what I will do tomorrow with regard to the squad," Klopp told a press conference.

"His quality is outstanding but everybody needs training. Today was his third full exercise with the team following four, five weeks break. But with a striker, five minutes is sometimes enough.

"The problem is everyone can see Daniel's quality. We have to think about him."

Sturridge, who last started on Oct 4 in the Merseyside derby that ended 1-1, returned to training at Melwood this week.

"I'm fit and ready to go and it's going to be a great time for me," the 26-year-old told the club website. "It's been great under the new manager. I've been back training for the past couple of days and I was training when he first arrived. It's an exciting time to be at the club and I'm enjoying working with him and the style of football."

Klopp added that James Milner (hamstring) and Jordon Ibe (knee) are back in training.

Midfielder Jordan Henderson could return to training next week after a foot injury. Klopp also hinted that Mamadou Sakho, who was expected to miss eight weeks, could return from his knee injury sooner than expected.

In the meantime, Dejan Lovren believes he is ready to fill the void created by Sakho's absence.

The Croatia international is set to make his first Premier League start since the 3-1 defeat by Manchester United on Sept 12 at Old Trafford.

"I was working hard all the time so I'm ready and looking forward to playing," he said.

Playing football, however, may not be foremost on the minds of all players following the terror attacks in Paris.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said he will talk to Laurent Koscielny ahead of his side's trip to West Bromwich Albion tomorrow to assess whether he feels able to return to the Premier League with full focus,

The France defender was visibly emotional in France's friendly loss to England at Wembley.

"You could see that on Tuesday night, he was not himself. It affected him deeply and I didn't recognise the player I saw on Tuesday night," said the Frenchman.

"I will talk with him.

"What I will want from him is that he's completely committed and feels ready. If not, I will not play him."

REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 20, 2015, with the headline 'Klopp to assess Sturridge's fitness'. Print Edition | Subscribe