Belfast Telegraph

Sports Awards

Jurgen Klopp offers Daniel Sturridge hope of resurrecting Liverpool career

The 28-year-old finished last season on loan at West Brom.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists the door remains open for striker Daniel Sturridge despite doubts remaining over his future.

The England international fell down the pecking order last season after injuries impacted on his availability and he has been linked with a move to the likes of Sevilla and Besiktas.

He still has plenty to prove to Klopp, considering his fitness record, he is worthy of retention but the 28-year-old has looked one of the sharpest performers in pre-season – although even he could not break the deadlock in a goalless draw at League Two Bury.

“It’s funny, this is my third pre-season and every year we talk about the same things!” said the Reds boss.

“It’s no problem. I always said there is a future, it’s about what we do in the moment.

“At the moment it’s all good and we don’t have to make decisions. I don’t think about my players like this – like, maybe he’s in or out.

“With the young ones we make these decisions but not with the other guys. They show up, and it should be easy for me in the end.

“The window is still open, right? Is it closing tomorrow? Good.”

The game saw Loris Karius, who made another error in Tuesday’s win at Tranmere, given an hour in goal with Danny Ward training at Melwood as he is likely to start at Blackburn on Thursday.

Harry Wilson, after an impressive start to pre-season, was not involved with the likelihood he will go out on loan to a Sky Bet Championship club in the near future with Stoke, Derby and Swansea all interested.

New signing Xherdan Shaqiri, who joined from Stoke for £13million on Friday, will be part of the squad for next week’s International Champions Cup in the United States.

There were first pre-season appearances for Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip with the Dutchman looking particularly composed in a 45-minute first-half run-out.

But it is another of Liverpool’s central defenders who is currently taking the limelight with Dejan Lovren about to play in the World Cup final.

His comments after Croatia’s win over England in midweek when he said “Without being arrogant I think I have (been proved to be one of the best defenders in the world). Definitely” were greeted with disbelief in some quarters and even Klopp allowed himself a chuckle.

“It would be better if somebody else would say that and not Dejan – but actually he’s right,” said the German.

“People don’t think about that but if you go into detail it’s not a big surprise Croatia are where they are.

“They don’t have world class full-backs, but in the end they don’t concede.

“They are offensive in the midfield with (Ivan) Rakitic, (Marcelo) Brozovic, (Luka) Modric, so somebody needs to fix all that. Dejan is a big part of that.

“He was for us in the Champions League final, three years ago he was in the Europa League final, yes he didn’t win that.

“In the Champions League final, I didn’t see two better centre halves than him – only more ruthless. That’s the thing.

“For me it’s no surprise. He played a really good World Cup, but to do it consistently is more important.

“We will work together for a long time, so I will have the opportunity to help him. Next time I will say it (he is one of the world’s best defenders)!”

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph