Sturridge the loser in long-drawn injury saga: Barnes

John Barnes during a training session at the Home United Youth Academy for about 100 youth yesterday.
John Barnes during a training session at the Home United Youth Academy for about 100 youth yesterday.PHOTO: STANDARD CHARTERED BANK

While there is no doubting the quality of Daniel Sturridge, the Liverpool striker has played just 73 games out of 146, including Sunday's 1-0 win over Swansea.

Manager Juergen Klopp had expressed his wish that the 26-year-old star footballer could perhaps grit his teeth and play through the pain sometimes.

But former Liverpool captain John Barnes believes Sturridge will eventually lose out if the England international chooses to stay in the treatment room to fix all his ailments.

"It's more of a concern for himself (Sturridge) in terms of looking at his career moving forward, if he wants to have a long career," the 52-year-old said.

FIT STURRIDGE EQUALS HEALTHY REDS

For Liverpool, Daniel's an important player and we want to have him fit. We have to create a squad that with him, it'll be better, but (even) without him, we can still compete.

JOHN BARNES, on the Reds' quest to best utilise injury-prone Daniel Sturridge

Barnes is in Singapore as part of a Liverpool International Academy team of coaches who conducted a training session at the Home United Youth Academy yesterday morning for about 100 youths under Care Singapore, a social organisation that reaches out to youths at risk.

"For Liverpool, Daniel's an important player and we want to have him fit," Barnes added.

"We have to create a squad that with him, it'll be better, but (even) without him, we can still compete.

"We would like Daniel to be fit, but if he has this problem that he's going to be (perpetually) injured, then we've got to be able to compensate for that, and so far we have.

"Christian Benteke has come, you've got so many talents in the squad who are strong enough to be able to cope with that."

While the injury-plagued striker has a good record at Anfield, scoring 37 goals in 59 English Premier League appearances, it is his assortment of problems with his hip, thigh, ankle, knee, calf and foot injuries that have frustrated the Liverpool fans eager to see more of him.

Also, as the Kop continue in their delight in the appointment of Klopp, Barnes has called for patience to let the German settle in and has even ruled out any chances of Liverpool lifting a trophy this season.

The Reds currently sit on sixth in the EPL standings, six points adrift of leaders Manchester City.

He said: "Klopp is now maximising the potential of the team, but it doesn't mean we are going to win the league. Liverpool now can challenge for fourth spot, maybe even third spot. But to say that we will win the League, it's ridiculous.

"We are playing with a different intensity, determination and pace. We are defending higher up in the field. But that's what happens when a new manager comes.

"But after 20 games, the euphoria will settle down and you look at the players who run an extra yard, and that's when you look at the quality of the team."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 01, 2015, with the headline 'Sturridge the loser in long-drawn injury saga: Barnes'. Print Edition | Subscribe