Belfast Telegraph

Klopp sure Sturridge will regain belief and end Liverpool goal drought

By Mike Whalley

Daniel Sturridge has the strength of character to overcome a dip in confidence and form in order to end his barren run in the Premier League, according to Jurgen Klopp. Sturridge has not scored a league goal all season, a sequence of nine matches that stretches back to April 23.

He looked short on confidence as he laboured for an hour of Monday's 0-0 draw at home to Manchester United before being replaced by Adam Lallana.

Former Liverpool star Jan Molby went as far as to suggest this week that Liverpool look a better team at the moment without Sturridge, arguing that a long run of injury problems have taken a toll on the striker.

Klopp, though, thinks that the forward can take comfort from realising that even lauded goalscorers such as Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski and former Germany striker Gerd Muller have had barren spells.

"There are moments when you think Daniel should score and he doesn't but you have to carry on," said Klopp ahead of today's clash with West Brom.

"It is a very useful moment in his career. With a big name such as Lewandowski, there were times when he didn't score. With Gerd Muller, there were games he didn't score. You look back on his career and he scored 600 times but there were moments when he didn't score. It is about handling situations like this and not making a big thing about it."

Sturridge has struggled since enjoying the most prolific season of his career in 2013-14, when his partnership with Luis Suarez took Liverpool to the brink of their first title since 1990 before Manchester City overtook them.

The England striker ended that campaign with 21 league goals, but has managed only 12 in a little over two seasons since then, having been hampered by a combination of injuries and inconsistency.

"It is not easy," Klopp said of Sturridge's struggles, while promising to help him resolve them.

"For most of his life football has been so easy because he is so skilled.

"I cannot work only with players who are 100 per cent confident, in their best shape with everything, 100 per cent fit. If I could only work with them, I would be standing here alone.

"Every player struggles with this or this. A little problem here, a little problem there.

"Daniel Sturridge is an outstanding player. There is no doubt about this. We had a game against Manchester United and, yes, it was not easy for him. We didn't play well, he didn't play with 100 per cent confidence - we can all see this.

"Daniel is hard working, he is fit. He is doing what all players have to do in the moments like this when it doesn't quite go for you; he is working.

"So I'm fine with it. Of course my job is to help him - not just him but all of the guys - so it comes off often enough and they can score."

Premier League fixtures (3.00pm today unless stated): Bournemouth v Tottenham (12.30pm); Arsenal v Middlesbrough; Burnley v Everton; Hull v Stoke; Leicester v Crystal Palace; Swansea v Watford; West Ham v Sunderland; Liverpool v West Brom (5.30pm).

Tomorrow: Man City v Southampton (1.30pm); Chelsea v Man Utd (4.00pm).

Belfast Telegraph


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