Klopp willing to give Sturridge time

Daniel Sturridge's Liverpool future could be in doubt as he struggles with injury problems that have kept him out for most of this season.
Daniel Sturridge's Liverpool future could be in doubt as he struggles with injury problems that have kept him out for most of this season.PHOTO: AGENCEFRANCE-PRESSE

LONDON • Juergen Klopp does not want to give up on Daniel Sturridge, but admitted that he is not a patient man as the striker struggles with a rehabilitation programme.

Sturridge's prolonged absences are a factor in Liverpool's pursuit of Shakhtar Donetsk forward Alex Teixeira, with the Brazilian reportedly the subject of a €32 million (S$49.5 million) bid.

Sturridge, 26, has made only six appearances this season and his attempts to improve his fitness via a pre-season training regimen have been beset by setbacks. It is expected to be at least another week before he can be fit for selection.

His injury woes are a major problem for Klopp and have fuelled talk of a summer transfer. Slaven Bilic denied that West Ham had made an £18 million (S$36.7 million) inquiry and Klopp insists that he must give the accomplished finisher every opportunity to revive his career.

"Out of responsibility, we have to do everything we can to give him (Sturridge) the physical strength to be able to play Premier League football," said the Liverpool manager.

"We all know it's pretty easy for him when he's fit but at this moment, he isn't.

"We cannot change this and I am not thinking about making a general decision (about him) at the moment."

Klopp will have to juggle his resources again when his side visit Norwich in the league today.

The Reds' away trip will be their 35th game of the campaign, although the Premier League is only just past the halfway mark.

Liverpool are still in the Europa League, the FA Cup and next Tuesday face Stoke in the second leg of their League Cup semi-final. That workload has fully extended Klopp's squad, which he is hoping to strengthen with the capture of Teixeira.

The German fielded a side containing several members of Liverpool's Under-21 squad for their 3-0 FA Cup third-round replay win over Exeter on Wednesday. But, while the rookies impressed, they will be heading back to the bench as Klopp restores his senior players to league duty.

Liverpool have failed to win any of their last three league games and need to bounce back against relegation-threatened Norwich.

Fitness checks will be given to Dejan Lovren and Martin Skrtel, as well as Philippe Coutinho.

Norwich have slipped down the table after successive league defeats that left them two points and two places above the dreaded relegation zone. Canaries manager Alex Neil has responded by bringing in forward Steven Naismith from Everton and former Wolfsburg defender Timm Klose.

With Portuguese right-back Ivo Pinto and winger Matt Jarvis having arrived earlier, the new recruits will be expected to make an immediate impression and help preserve the club's Premier League status.

THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 23, 2016, with the headline 'Klopp willing to give Sturridge time'. Print Edition | Subscribe