Sturridge's position clear

Liverpool forward Daniel Sturridge (left) taking a shot during the English League Cup second-round match against Burton Albion.
Liverpool forward Daniel Sturridge (left) taking a shot during the English League Cup second-round match against Burton Albion.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Liverpool striker says he is best in a central role after playing out wide against Burton

LONDON • Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is trying to keep the peace with Daniel Sturridge, after the frustrated striker complained about being played out of position.

Sturridge has been deployed on the right wing rather than in his preferred central striker's berth in his two appearances for Liverpool this season. And he made it clear he is unhappy Klopp has used him in the unfamiliar role.

The 26-year-old scored twice in the 5-0 League Cup win at Burton Albion on Tuesday but said afterwards: "Of course it's more difficult for me to play wide because I am a centre-forward.

"In the modern-day game you have to try and be flexible, but everyone knows my best position.

"I'm a player who plays on instinct and in the middle I have clarity on movements and things that I have been doing for years.

"I am not saying I am happy to do it, I am saying I have to do a job for the team."

Klopp was asked about Sturridge's comments yesterday and, although he did not rule out using the former Manchester City and Chelsea player on the flanks again, the German said there is no reason for Sturridge to see the role as a demotion.

The manager insisted that he sees the striker as one of his main - if not the main - scorer in his side but wants him to add more movement and deception to his game.

"The first thing is I don't want to play Daniel as a wide player but of course he can start there and play there but in the decisive moments he needs to be involved in all the finishing situations," Klopp said.

"I think both goals (against Burton) he scored inside the box so he was not on the wing in this moment - that is flexible football.

"That is how football works, it is not a fixed position (where you) stay outside and wait until you get the ball - especially not in Daniel's case. When a striker plays in the centre it makes no sense so you have to change positions. Daniel is a very smart player in hiding himself in positions where it is not easy to defend and it is very often in a wing position.

"When he is not involved anymore in defending you need a smart striker who takes the centre-half and moves them into a position where they don't feel comfortable. It is only a starting position for the next offensive move for my team."

Sturridge has been injured for much of Klopp's time at Anfield, but the German insisted his relationship with the England international is still good.

"We have still to work on a lot of things. I know him and when we have talks there is no issue," he said.

Liverpool have a couple of injury worries before their Premier League match with Tottenham Hotspur tomorrow, with Emre Can (ankle) and Divock Origi (cramp) unlikely to be fit.

On Can, Klopp said: "There is nothing really serious in the ankle but it is the ankle where he had a few problems in the past so it should not be too long.

"It is the same with Divock. It is nothing serious but if you have a cramp you need to have a look at it so it is not for sure they will be available."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 26, 2016, with the headline 'Sturridge's position clear'. Print Edition | Subscribe