COMMENT By Dominic Toner
Daniel Sturridge must be named in Liverpool’s starting line-up against Sunderland on Saturday.
The 27-year-old should come into the side for midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum, with manager Jurgen Klopp making one change to his side.
Philippe Coutinho can drop back into the midfield and that would allow Sturridge to join Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane in attack.
The Reds fell to a disappointing 0-0 draw against Southampton in their last fixture and will be desperate for three points to keep their title challenge going.
Liverpool have been in great form in front of goal this season, but it showed against the Saints that they can lack a central figure at times.
Klopp should feel confident ahead of playing 19th-placed Sunderland at Anfield and playing Sturridge as the central striker would show a real attacking intent.
Liverpool should stick with the same back four that kept a clean sheet against Southampton, with Loris Karius starting ahead of Simon Mignolet in goal.
The Reds have been criticised for their defensive record a lot recently, but Joel Matip and Karius are experiencing their first taste of the Premier League this season.
Englishman James Milner is also adapting to his new left-back role this campaign and the defence have needed time to develop a solid understanding.
Emre Can and Jordan Henderson should continue in midfield, but Wijnaldum should be dropped to the bench as he is yet to hit top form.
Adam Lallana remains sidelined with injury and Liverpool are missing his creative spark in midfield, but Brazilian Coutinho is capable of offering that as he drops back from a winger.
Coutinho, 24, is regarded as the club’s outstanding player and he will be able to cause Sunderland issues from he middle of the park.
Firmino has been used as a central forward for most of this season, but should still be able to get in goalscoring positions from the left.
Sturridge has completed 90 minutes on just one occasion in his 11 appearances this campaign and Klopp should give him a starting role against Sunderland.
His lack of game time has restricted him to just four goals this season, but he scored for England during the international break and remains one of the league’s most clinical finishers.
In other Liverpool team news, the club’s supporters want a youngster to replace Mane in January.