Daniel Sturridge is yet to play a single second under new Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp… and that wait for game time will go on.
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Speaking to the press ahead of Liverpool’s Capital One Cup fourth round tie against Bournemouth at Anfield on Wednesday, Klopp revealed that Sturridge is edging closer to a return but will not be available to play against the Cherries.
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Asked about Sturridge’s progress from a knee injury suffered in training before the game against Tottenham Hotspur on October 17, Klopp doesn’t appear hopeful that the England international will return this weekend against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge (Watch live, 8:45 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra).
“Daniel is not available for tomorrow. It is getting better but not quick enough that it changes the situation for us,” Klopp said. “He’s not in training. I saw him five minutes ago working in the gym but he has done nothing on normal football training. We have to wait.”
Sturridge, 26, has spent most of the past 12 months on the sidelines with separate thigh and hip injuries. His loss, plus the sale of Luis Suarez to Barcelona, saw Liverpool’s offensive power take a huge hit last season and many pointed towards that reason as a determining factor in Brendan Rodgers losing his job.
The English striker has undoubted quality and scored twice in a 3-2 win against Aston Villa in September as it looked like he was back on track. However, an injury in one of Klopp’s first training sessions at Melwood has sent the former Manchester City and Chelsea striker back to the treatment table where he will join another forward, Danny Ings, who ruptured his ACL in another blow for Klopp’s attacking options.
With Christian Benteke returning to fitness over the last week and the big Belgian scoring a towering to grab a point for Liverpool against Southampton on Sunday, Klopp will look to build his attack around Benteke fir the time being, while Roberto Firmino has also returned from injury and should get more minutes against Chelsea this Saturday in a huge Halloween clash.
Despite saying that he has “absolutely no problem” with Liverpool drawing all three of his first games in charge, you have to think that having Sturridge available would have yielded more goals and created more chances for the Reds to succeed in Klopp’s opening weeks in charge.