Daniel Sturridge has responded to not being selected against Villarreal, with quotes that are unlikely to go down well with Liverpool supporters – regardless of their honesty.
The striker was benched – rightly or wrongly – for the Europa League semi-final, which seemed strange considering his excellent form previous.
Jurgen Klopp went with Roberto Firmino as a false-9, Liverpool lost 1-0, and with Sturridge bringing his entire family out to Spain to watch him ‘play’ – he’s found it difficult to take…
“Maybe people don’t see this, but I am someone who wants to play every minute of every match, so maybe when I’m not starting or when I’m taken off, it’s hard to take,” he told the Mirror.
“You want to be on the pitch every single match, every single minute.
“It’s exciting, of course, what the manager is bringing and where we are heading. I am doing everything in my power to be out there on the pitch, and I am feeling good as well.
“There are things I want to achieve with Liverpool. I would never say I am Liverpool until I die, because I would be lying.
“I think any player who says ‘oh yeah, this is the only team I will play for, for the rest of my life’, they are deluded. In football every team looks for replacements every single year.
“So for myself all I can do every weekend is go out there, perform as well as I can, perform to the best of my abilities, and then come the end of the season hopefully have the European Championships to look forward to…and to next year.
“I’m feeling so good right now, feeling great and my body is at a level where I’m able to play however many games a week repeatedly and not break down.
“I am so ambitious, so hungry right now for success that it is hard to put it into words.
“Now I’m in a place where I feel amazing, and I feel ready. My body feels great, I’m ready to play every game for the team.”
Sturridge has 11 goals in total this term, but that would have been easily doubled and likely much more if he’d been fit all season.
He’s not been properly injured since February, but Klopp’s sparing use of him is clearly getting to the 26-year-old. Our manager has been desperate to maximise the forward’s fitness, but has also showed that he maybe doesn’t trust Sturridge in big European fixtures.
On the back of three goals in three games, Klopp dropped him for a European semi-final. It’s no surprise he’s disappointed, but he still should be careful about making comments such as these. It doesn’t matter if you’re ‘Liverpool until you die’ – when you’re at Anfield – you act like it.
Then you just might be.