Jurgen Klopp believes Daniel Sturridge has a major role to play in Liverpool’s pursuit of trophies providing the striker stays fit and seizes the opportunity presented by Sadio Mané’s departure to the Africa Cup of Nations.
Klopp is aiming to take a step closer towards a third cup final appearance in only 15 months as Liverpool manager on Wednesday when his side travel to Southampton in the first leg of their EFL Cup semi-final. Liverpool will be without Mané, a former Southampton player, because of his involvement in the AFCON with Senegal and though Philippe Coutinho is back in the squad for the first time in almost seven weeks after injury, the Brazil international is unlikely to start at St Mary’s Stadium.
Sturridge, therefore, has an ideal chance to reclaim a first-team place under Klopp having spent the majority of the campaign on the substitutes’ bench.
The England international made his first start under the Liverpool manager in a 6-1 League Cup win at Southampton in December 2015, scoring twice in the opening half-hour, but 13 months on Klopp is still waiting for the striker to find the consistent fitness required to lead his attack.