Sturridge faces uncertain future after snub

LONDON • Jurgen Klopp has said that Divock Origi is better suited to playing on the counter-attack than Daniel Sturridge in a further sign that the England forward has fallen down the pecking order at Liverpool.

Sturridge appeared astonished when his team-mate was brought on ahead of him for the final 21 minutes of the 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane on Saturday.

The 26-year-old has yet to feature in his preferred position as a central striker this season and complained about being played on the right flank last week, adding to the tension between him and his manager.

Klopp's side were in control and looking to double their advantage when Origi replaced Philippe Coutinho.

"When it was still 1-0, we needed someone to come on for the counter-attack, that's Divock and unfortunately even though he was running we didn't find him," Klopp said.

Sturridge came on for the final two minutes and the pattern of selections is likely to be repeated, with Klopp wanting his attacking players to press even more in away games.

Closing down and pressuring opponents is not the natural game of the England striker and, as if to emphasise the contrasting attributes, Roberto Firmino worked tirelessly and unselfishly up top, supported by the quick feet of Sadio Mane.

Firmino created five chances from open play, only one fewer than the home side.

Klopp wants an attacking unit, not individuals, and Liverpool showed plenty of promise in breaking swiftly time and again without being clinical enough to kill the game.

"For the game today, I made the decision that the kind of defending was what it was and for what we needed," he said.

"Hopefully we can make different line-ups for different games."

Sturridge would seem more likely to start at Anfield when Liverpool need craft and unpredictability and, perhaps, when they play lesser sides.

He has scored 43 league goals for the club but played only about half of the possible games, because of hamstring and groin injuries.

A hip issue disrupted his pre-season and it is clear that the injuries have become frustrating for Klopp.

"He did not have a perfect pre-season, that's how it is," the German said. "A few other players had more pre-season. They played together... so of course that's an advantage.

"Nobody has real rhythm. A few players do have, a few don't and then you have to judge for the moment. But there's no big mountain for him (Sturridge). It's a good team, thank God."

However, Klopp is not about to change his playing style in order to suit the striker. Something is likely to snap in the coming weeks unless Sturridge can deliver the extra endeavour and work.

THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 30, 2016, with the headline 'Sturridge faces uncertain future after snub'. Print Edition | Subscribe