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Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp to Daniel Sturridge: Now I know what everybody is talking about

Published 03/12/2015

Daniel Sturridge of Liverpool celebrates as he scores their first goal during the Capital One Cup quarter final match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium on December 2, 2015 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Daniel Sturridge of Liverpool celebrates as he scores their first goal during the Capital One Cup quarter final match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium on December 2, 2015 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Daniel Sturridge of Liverpool shoots past goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg of Southampton to score their first goal during the Capital One Cup quarter final match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium on December 2, 2015 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Liverpool's English striker Daniel Sturridge celebrates in front of the celebrates in front of the Southampton fans after scoring his team's second goal during the English League Cup quarter-final football match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England on December 2, 2015. AFP/Getty Images

Jurgen Klopp revelled in Daniel Sturridge's return to fitness and form after the striker inspired Liverpool into the Capital One Cup semi-finals with a outstanding win over Southampton.

Sturridge started his first match since Klopp's appointment as manager almost two months ago and demonstrated the masterful finishing ability that Klopp and predecessor Brendan Rodgers so regularly went without in scoring Liverpool's first two goals in their exceptional 6-1 defeat of Southampton.

Wednesday evening's victory secured their place in the competition's final four - they are to face Stoke over two legs in January while Manchester City and Everton compete in the other semi-final - and also gave Sturridge his first goals since September 26, when he scored twice against Aston Villa.

Given much of Klopp's considerable reputation was built upon his transformation of Robert Lewandowski into a world-class goalscorer at Borussia Dortmund, it says much that the German was so convinced by Sturridge's performance, particularly so soon after suggesting the striker needed to "identify what is serious pain and what is only pain" and on an evening where Divock Origi also scored a hat-trick.

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A fully-fit Sturridge could yet possess the potential to make the crucial difference in reaching the Premier League's top four, even at a club where Origi, Christian Benteke, Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino are among the alternative attacking options.

Despite watching his team improve significantly in the striker's absence before Wednesday, Klopp revealed Sturridge's performance made him understand why he was the subject of such regular attention and debate.

"I said to Sturridge after the game 'now I know what everybody is talking about so thank you'," said Klopp of the striker who, owing to injury, has scarcely featured since the conclusion of the 2013/14 season in which his 24 goals almost inspired Liverpool to the league title.

"Of course I knew all about his quality, this was not a problem, but I had not seen it live in a stadium in such an important game.

Liverpool's Belgian striker Daniel Origi celebrates scoring his team's fourth goal during the English League Cup quarter-final football match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England on December 2, 2015. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS
Liverpool's Belgian striker Daniel Origi celebrates scoring his team's fourth goal during the English League Cup quarter-final football match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England on December 2, 2015. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS
Liverpool's English midfielder Jordon Ibe celebrates scoring his team's fifth goal during the English League Cup quarter-final football match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England on December 2, 2015. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS
Liverpool's Belgian striker Daniel Origi (C) celebrates scoring his team's fourth goal with Liverpool's English midfielder Jordon Ibe (R) during the English League Cup quarter-final football match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England on December 2, 2015. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's Belgian striker Daniel Origi (L) celebrates scoring his team's fourth goal with Liverpool's English midfielder Jordon Ibe (R) during the English League Cup quarter-final football match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England on December 2, 2015. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's Belgian striker Daniel Origi (C) celebrates scoring his team's fourth goal with Liverpool's English midfielder Jordon Ibe (R) and teammates during the English League Cup quarter-final football match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England on December 2, 2015. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's Belgian striker Daniel Origi celebrates scoring his team's fourth goal during the English League Cup quarter-final football match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England on December 2, 2015. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp reacts on the touchline during the English League Cup quarter-final football match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England on December 2, 2015. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images
Southampton's Senegalese midfielder Sadio Mane (C) scores his team's first goal during the English League Cup quarter-final football match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England on December 2, 2015. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.ADRIAN DENNIS,ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images
Southampton's Senegalese midfielder Sadio Mane (C) scores his team's first goal during the English League Cup quarter-final football match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England on December 2, 2015. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's Brazilian midfielder Lucas Leiva (L) clashes with Southampton's Serbian midfielder Dusan Tadic (R) during the English League Cup quarter-final football match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England on December 2, 2015. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images
Liverpool's Slovakian defender Martin Skrtel jumps to head the ball during the English League Cup quarter-final football match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England on December 2, 2015. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images
SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 02: Jordon Ibe of Liverpool (front) celebrates with Alberto Moreno (L) as he scores their fifth goal during the Capital One Cup quarter final match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium on December 2, 2015 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 02: Divock Origi of Liverpool (2L) celebrates with team mates as he scores their fourth goal during the Capital One Cup quarter final match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium on December 2, 2015 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 02: Divock Origi of Liverpool (L) celebrates with team mates Lucas Leiva (21) and Jordon Ibe (33) as he scores their fourth goal during the Capital One Cup quarter final match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium on December 2, 2015 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 02: Divock Origi of Liverpool (R) touches the ball past goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg of Southampton to score their thrid goal during the Capital One Cup quarter final match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium on December 2, 2015 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Daniel Sturridge of Liverpool celebrates as he scores their first goal during the Capital One Cup quarter final match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium on December 2, 2015 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Liverpool's English striker Daniel Sturridge celebrates in front of the celebrates in front of the Southampton fans after scoring his team's second goal during the English League Cup quarter-final football match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England on December 2, 2015. AFP/Getty Images
Daniel Sturridge of Liverpool shoots past goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg of Southampton to score their first goal during the Capital One Cup quarter final match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium on December 2, 2015 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Sadio Mane of Southampton (10) celebrates as he scores their first goal with a header during the Capital One Cup quarter final match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium on December 2, 2015 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Southampton's Senegalese midfielder Sadio Mane (3L) shoots to score his team's first goal during the English League Cup quarter-final football match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England on December 2, 2015. AFP/Getty Images
Southampton's Senegalese midfielder Sadio Mane (C) celebrates scoring his team's first goal with Southampton's German-born Portuguese defender Cedric Soares (L) and Southampton's Northern Irish midfielder Steven Davis during the English League Cup quarter-final football match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England on December 2, 2015. AFP/Getty Images
Jurgen Klopp manager of Liverpool looks thoughtful prior to the Capital One Cup quarter final match between Southampton and Liverpool at St Mary's Stadium on December 2, 2015 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and Southampton manager Ronald Koeman. File photo: 25-10-2015. Image: PA

"How do I know if he can be better than a couple of seasons ago? I don't know. You have known him longer than me.

"The problem with Daniel was we didn't know how long he could play. He did not have the perfect pre-season. It was a good decision (to select him), I have to say."

The 6-1 defeat represented Southampton's worst at home for 56 years, since a 6-0 loss to Brentford in March 1959, and while criticising his team for making it "too easy" for Liverpool, their manager, Ronald Koeman, accepted responsibility for the attacking changes which he said ultimately increased their deficit.

"(It was) great play of Liverpool," he said. "They played a fantastic game. Very complete, defensively strong, good movement, and they killed the game with high quality, but (it was) too easy in my opinion.

"The second half is my responsibility. I took the decision to play three at the back, and the first 20 minutes after half-time it was a little bit better, but we didn't score, and the last 20 minutes, there were too big spaces, too big gaps."

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