Jurgen Klopp today praised Liverpool forward Daniel Sturridge for a ‘flexible’ performance against Premier League champions Leicester City at the weekend.
The striker is known for his sublime finishing ability and skill on the ball, but has been left out of big matches under the German because of an apparent inability to press quite as relentlessly as Liverpool’s other attackers, or make the kinds of unselfish runs that are standard for Roberto Firmino, for example.
“The movements were brilliant. Daniel was involved in three or four goals. For the first one, it was a brilliant run. Roberto (Firmino) can make exactly the same run but if Daniel hadn’t made that run he wouldn’t have been free. Being that flexible is the key for all games.” Klopp told today’s pre-match press-conference ahead of the Chelsea clash, cited in the Echo.
Klopp’s right to note that Sturridge was clearly working hard to suit the manager’s demands. For the first goal, scored by Firmino, he tracked back and won the ball, before pulling wide to create space for the Brazilian’s central run.
He then produced a wonderful assist for Sadio Mane’s, squaring the ball with his heel, before playing a very big part in Adam Lallana’s effort as well.
Sturridge didn’t score, but this won’t matter to Klopp – who values a striker on his overall contribution to the attack.
We’d have thought Firmino would be Klopp’s natural selection up top against Chelsea on Friday, with Coutinho coming back into the side on the left – but Sturridge’s Anfield outing gives the boss a real dilemma.
Still, it’s a very nice problem to have.