By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens
Daniel Sturridge told Jurgen Klopp in a half-time exchange that he wanted to play the full 90 minutes in Liverpool’s Premier League clash against Swansea on Sunday.
The Merseysiders lost 3-1 at the Liberty Stadium as a shadow side featuring six Academy graduates struggled against the Welsh side.
Sturridge was one of only four senior players in the line-up, along with Martin Skrtel, Dejan Lovren, Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho.
Liverpool were 2-0 down at half-time, with Coutinho replaced by Christian Benteke as Klopp chose to wrap the Brazilian in cotton wool ahead of Thursday’s Europa League showdown against Villarreal.
Sturridge had a disappointing match as he failed to extend his run of scoring in four consecutive league games.
Eyebrows were raised that the England international stayed on the pitch for the entire encounter, given that Liverpool need to overturn last Thursday’s 1-0 semi-final first leg defeat to reach the Europa League final.
But Klopp explained why in his post-match media conference.
“I spoke to him at half time,” Klopp said, as quoted by the Liverpool Echo. “We had already made two changes at half time, so told him if he feels something he should give me a sign.
“He said ‘no, I want to play the 90 minutes’ and that was absolutely no problem.
“He didn’t play on Thursday, so we now have four or five days until Thursday again, so everything is good.”
Klopp on Sturridge: “I spoke to him at half-time, he said ‘I want to play the 90 minutes’. We have four days until Thursday. It’s good.”
— This Is Anfield (@thisisanfield) May 1, 2016
Klopp fielded the youngest Liverpool team in the Premier League era, with an average age of 23 years and 218 days, but their inexperience showed.
Andre Ayew’s header and a sumptuous Jack Cork goal put the hosts in charge after a vibrant first-half display.
Benteke nodded in midway through the second period to give the visitors hope, but Ayew’s second goal swiftly ended those aspirations.
Brad Smith was then sent off for Liverpool, whose hopes of Champions League qualification now rest on winning the Europa League.
It is a victory which moves Swansea, who have two games remaining, to 13th in the table and opens an unassailable 11-point gap between them and third-from-bottom Sunderland.
In other Liverpool news, supporters raged on Twitter about Skrtel’s display against the Swans.