Klopp unsure if Sturridge can play 90 minutes

Daniel Sturridge has scored four goals for Liverpool this season but Jurgen Klopp cannot say if the striker is ready to play 90 minutes.

Published : Oct 01, 2018 09:54 IST

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and striker Daniel Sturridge
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and striker Daniel Sturridge

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and striker Daniel Sturridge

Jurgen Klopp feels Daniel Sturridge still needs to increase his fitness levels before he is ready to complete a full 90 minutes for Liverpool.

Sturridge has made five substitute appearances in the Premier League this term, earning the Reds a point with a stunning long-range strike at Chelsea on Saturday.

The striker started Liverpool's Champions League defeat of Paris Saint-Germain, with Roberto Firmino only fit for the bench, and also scored in that victory.

Sturridge's four goals in all competitions has the striker level with Sadio Mane for Liverpool this season, with his goals invaluable as Mohamed Salah has been in muted form.

But before Klopp is ready to hand Sturridge the chance to start matches on a regular basis the 29-year-old has work to do, despite netting three goals in his last four games.

"That's the target. He played fantastically against PSG," Klopp said after Liverpool's draw at Chelsea ended a six-game winning run at the start of the Premier League season.

"That role, exactly that. High intensity for 60 or 70 minutes and probably could have played longer, but we had Bobby [Firmino] then.

"It must always be the target of a player to play with the highest intensity over 95 minutes. I don't know [if he can do it] because we haven't tried it yet. He 100 per cent understands the need to do that.

"He doesn't want us to change our style for him. He plays exactly how we want him. He loves the position. He is that kind of nine-and-a-half, coming back into position, he can be a 10 and play between the lines and play the pass, like he was when he scored the goal.

"Daniel is tactically a very smart player so he hasn't had to improve a lot. It's always been about being physical. He wasn't fit. Since we've worked together, the spells when he was fit were not long enough.

"When he was fit like in the first season, Europa League games, he was so decisive and so important. Villarreal at home, scored there. He was always an important part of the team when he was fit."

Salah has scored once in his last five appearances for Liverpool, with the Egypt star struggling to match his stunning goalscoring form in his first season at the club, when he claimed the Premier League's Golden Boot.

And Klopp, while not concerned about Salah's lack of form in front of goal, accepts the former Roma attacker is not happy with his recent performances for the Reds.

"Of course not. How could he be? It's a normal situation," Klopp added. "But now that's what you have a manager for. We will talk about it.

"It's easy for me because I don't read what you [the media] write, maybe the boys do a bit more but that doesn't make too much sense at the moment because you will all dissect – a big nice cut and you will find pretty much nothing."

Asked about Salah being criticised by some football pundits, Klopp continued: "If you spoke about Gary Lineker at the moments he didn't score, I'm not sure he would still speak to us. That's how it is, no problem whatsoever. It's all fine.

"As long as he is working like he works and gets into the situations that he gets in, I'm completely fine and everything will be okay."

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