Jurgen Klopp has praised Daniel Sturridge’s progress despite dropping the forward for Liverpool’s Europa League quarterfinal with Borussia Dortmund.
Instead of the star striker, Klopp went with 20-year-old Belgian Divock Origi against the Germans. The youngster repaid his manager’s faith by scoring our crucial away goal, which has given us a fighting chance of progression next week.
Klopp though claims the decision to go with Origi was tactical and has praised Sturridge’s attitude since the Englishman’s been back fit.
“I have no doubt about the quality of Daniel Sturridge,” Klopp told the Daily Mail. “But how could he be absolutely 100 per cent in his best shape in all his long breaks from training and matches? It’s only about what is best for the next game. It’s not about the name.
“Daniel is really doing well. He had no problem when he saw he was not starting. He was really greedy to come on. He came on, did his job and could have scored in his first situation. The best for Daniel is to leave him to work and when he’s on the pitch, to give all he has, nothing else.
“It’s not about when Suarez left the club, who was No.1. That was a long time ago. There are a lot of strikers at the club and they all need confidence and faith. So I try to give it to all of them but I can’t show it in all of the line-ups in a row. I have to decide for each position.
“I always think about Daniel even when he is not available. But we decided to put Divock in for this game and it was a good decision. His response was very good when he was on the pitch.
“You saw immediately how strong he is and how good he is and that is very good for us, of course. Now he’s rested. I’m not going to tell you about the line-up (to play Stoke) but of course he’s involved in all my thoughts.”
Against Stoke today, Klopp has to decide whether to go with Origi again or to bring Sturridge back into the lineup.
Thursday’s match against Borussia Dortmund is Liverpool’s priority, and Klopp may decide to give Sturridge a chance to prove himself ahead of the European clash.
So far this term the 26-year-old has scored seven goals, not a bad return considering he’s been crocked for the vast majority of it.
Origi has five, but both will be keen to improve their tallies before the end of the campaign.