By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens
Liverpool have devised a pre-season style training plan in a fresh bid to reignite Daniel Sturridge’s season.
Manage Jurgen Klopp revealed on Thursday that the injury-prone striker has been ruled out of the club’s Christmas period to try and get to the bottom of his recurring injury problems.
Sturridge has started just one match since Klopp arrived at Anfield in October and hasn’t played since complaining of hamstring pain in the 2-0 defeat at Newcastle a fortnight ago.
Klopp and his fitness staff now decided the 26-year-old will train on his own and complete what in effect will be a personal pre-season programme over the festive period.
Sturridge will not be considered for the next three league matches, starting with the clash with Leicester City on Boxing Day. The earliest he might be available is for the televised FA Cup third round tie at Exeter City on 8 January.
“Daniel Sturridge is doing his little pre-season in a good way, seven to 10 days like this and then we will see,” Klopp said at his media conference on Thursday afternoon.
Klopp has other players missing against Leicester with Martin Skrtel, James Milner and Jordan Rossiter absent through injury, although Dejan Lovren will be available to replace Skrtel after recovering from a knee injury and Simon Mignolet is back after missing the 3-0 defeat at Watford.
“Martin is not too good, you know about it, hamstring and tendon,” explained Klopp. “He needs time, we don’t know how long. He’s a tough guy who usually recovers quick but can’t put pressure on it. A few weeks at least.
“James Milner has no chance, we have to wait one or two weeks (muscle injury). It is bad for Jordan Rossiter, a similar injury to before, hamstring, and really disappointing for him. Going to be a really long time.”
Klopp will face Claudio Ranieri on Boxing Day with the Italian hoping to maintain his team’s outstanding league-leading form.
While Leicester are top, Liverpool have collected only one point out of nine against Newcastle, West Brom and Watford, though the German remains a fan of his rival having hosted him last season when Ranieri went to Germany to study Borussia Dortmund’s training sessions.
“That was a big honour for me because Claudio is one of the most experienced and successful coaches in the world. There is big respect from both sides. I always knew he’d stay successful in his career.
“He’s had different situations and the Greek national team was not fun, they’ve had a few managers since him and it’s not been good, but Leicester deserve the run they have been on.
“They have had luck with injuries and you need that but they are also the perfect counter-attacking team and their whole squad has done really well. If you are not playing against them it is easy to enjoy what they are doing.”