By Coral Barry
Michael Owen believes Daniel Sturridge’s future will be decided on Thursday night when Liverpool take on Villarreal in the second leg of their Europa League semi-final.
Sturridge was caught on camera heading straight for the tunnel after Liverpool’s disappointing 3-1 league defeat to Swansea on Sunday, but Owen has played down the incident saying it is not an indication of any potential desire from the striker to leave Anfield.
Instead, Owen has suggested Sturridge will decide on his Liverpool future on Thursday night as Liverpool head into the biggest game of their season against Villarreal.
Sturridge was benched for both legs of the quarter-final against Borussia Dortmund in favour of Divock Origi and Owen believes the England international could be pushed towards the door if he is snubbed again.
“I wouldn’t get too carried away [with the walk-out],” said Owen speaking on BT Sport after the game. “Yes, he looked disappointed, but I’d be more disappointed if he was swapping shirts and cuddling with the opposition.
“Yes, he’s disappointed. Too right, he should be. I would be.
“That’s a different issue [Sturridge’s future] and that is something that is very relevant, because he’s been left out of the team in probably the biggest game of the season so far [against Borussia Dortmund].
“Let’s see what happens on Thursday, because if he is left out again then that’s a huge problem, because he sees himself as a first choice type of player.
“He’s an international player, he’d walk into any team virtually in the world in many ways. So he’s not a player you can keep around without playing him.”
Jurgen Klopp opted to rest most of his first-team players against Swansea ahead of the crucial European fixture on Thursday and fielded the youngest Liverpool side ever to feature in the Premier League era.
It was a gamble that did not pay off for the German, as Swansea tore the young side to pieces.