Belfast Telegraph

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is in the dark over Daniel Sturridge recovery as he prepares to ring changes

By Carl Markham

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says he has not given any thought to Daniel Sturridge's long-term future even though he does not know when the England forward will return to fitness.

Sturridge has managed just 106 minutes over three matches since Klopp succeeded Brendan Rodgers at Anfield and is not in contention for today's FA Cup fourth round visit of West Ham or Tuesday's trip to Premier League leaders Leicester after more interruptions to his training schedule.

Since he moved to Merseyside three years ago, Sturridge has been unavailable for 54.8 per cent of the time - a total of 615 days missed out of 1,122.

"He cannot play tomorrow and for sure against Leicester but I don't know what happens after Leicester," said Klopp. "He is still working, sometimes it's better, sometimes it's a bit worse because of one or the other issues.

"He has done a lot of sessions in the last few weeks but they are always interrupted through a few breaks so he needs consistency in sessions and that is what we try to do.

"With his injury history that is not coincidence, some things are not right if you are injured that often. I've seen him playing, I've seen him a few times in training but there is no doubt about his quality but that is not the thing to think about.

"I am not here to think about what happens with a player in the future, we have to work in this moment together with Daniel on his fitness.

"He is a very good player but in this moment he is not available so we don't have to talk too much about him."

After seeing his side hit new physical heights in beating Stoke in a penalty shoot-out on Tuesday to secure a Capital One Cup final appearance Klopp will be forced to make changes for the visit of the Hammers.

The German is still awaiting the return of a number of injured players apart from Sturridge - Philippe Coutinho, Divock Origi, Martin Skrtel and Nathaniel Clyne - so he believes he has no option but to switch things around even though he is facing Premier League opponents who have beaten his side twice already this season.

"The Stoke game was maybe not the best game ever; it was successful but on the other side it was intensive and we broke all records," said Klopp, whose chances of bolstering his squad with the signing of Shakhtar Donetsk forward Alex Teixeira look slim after the Ukrainian club's general director claimed they would not sell for less than £53m and probably not until the summer.

"The squad ran 156km. I had a few games with overtime but I've never had this number. Stoke had only 3km less. We had some players run 17km in the Stoke game.

"Nobody forced it. I did not say before 'Please try to break all records' but it was the game and we wanted to go to the final.

"But I cannot say 'Let's go again', it does not work like that. It will be a different team from the last game."

Belfast Telegraph


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