Jurgen Klopp admits Daniel Sturridge can still have a future at Liverpool amid speculation linking him to a summer move.
The striker has been one of Liverpool’s brightest performers across their opening three pre-season games so far, notching a superb brace in the 7-0 win over Chester.
His return to Melwood follows an injury-stricken loan spell with West Brom over the second half of last season, which fuelled suggestions he would finally depart on a permanent basis this summer.
Nonetheless, an early impression upon his return to Merseyside has naturally demanded further monitoring from Klopp as he decides on where to chisel down his squad.
Deciding Sturridge’s future is something the German has become familiar with since his arrival.
Klopp told Liverpoolfc.com: “That’s funny – it’s my third pre-season here and every year we talk about the same things, and he always had a future, not a problem!”
“I always said there’s always a future, it’s about what we do in the moment. In this moment, all good, but we don’t have to make decisions now in this situation, that’s how it is.”
“In this moment, I don’t think like this about my players. It’s not that I think ‘maybe he’s in or he’s not in’ with these guys. With the young ones, yes we have to make these decisions, but not with the others.”
Sturridge’s chances of retaining his place at Anfield have been boosted by Divock Origi and Dominic Solanke’s struggle to make an impact so far in pre-season.
With Danny Ings seeking a permanent transfer this summer in search of regular first-team football, Sturridge remains the most accomplished backup to Roberto Firmino.
His services may also prove worth keeping hold of if Liverpool maintain their current lack of interest in recruiting an orthodox Firmino alternative.
A sub-story to Sturridge’s pre-season has been a potential position change in regards to Klopp deploying his ability on the ball in a deeper creative role.