By Matt Farr
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has quashed speculation that Daniel Sturridge could be leaving the club this month.
The England striker has been in and out of the first-team frame at Anfield this season, with ongoing fitness concerns and the rise of Divock Origi a rather thorn in his side.
Sturridge has scored six goals from 15 appearances in all competitions this term, but has been named in the starting XI just six times.
The 27-year-old has been attracting interest from several clubs, including West Ham, but since the reports emerged in December, their interest appears to have cooled.
Now, Anfield chief Jurgen Klopp has reassured fans that he intends on keeping Sturridge for the long-term, despite raising concerns over his ability to stay fit.
He told Goal: “There is absolutely no doubt about Daniel’s talent and skill. Everything you need on the pitch is absolutely outstanding. But he has not been fit enough.
“From my point of view, even when he didn’t score, he made really good performances. He fits well in our style of play. We don’t have to think about it [his future] because we are exactly in the middle of the season.
“That is good for him, good for us. Nobody in the team, nobody in the squad is in doubt about him being a wonderful player.”
With Philippe Coutinho not yet back to full fitness following an ankle injury, and Sadio Mane on Africa Cup of Nations duty, Sturridge has a prime opportunity to prove to Klopp his belief in his ability is well-founded.
He is expected to line-up for Liverpool against Southampton in their EFL Cup semi-final clash on Wednesday, and an impressive display could give the German boss food for though in terms of his selection for Sunday’s high-profile Premier League meeting with Manchester United.
Football Insider verdict
Daniel Sturridge is a top player and it is a real shame that he has such problems with injuries. He would be one of the best strikers around if he was able to guarantee a long run of games without a setback, as he has a keen eye for goal. His value to both England and Liverpool has been proven time and time again over the years, so Liverpool have made the right decision to keep him on the books. Patience is the key, but admittedly Liverpool will only be persist with their crocked star for so long – hence the transfer speculation. Hopefully he can make an impression against Southampton on Wednesday, and stake a claim for regular selection in the absence of some of Klopp’s other options.
In other Liverpool transfer news, fans have reacted on Twitter as Klopp is reportedly after this deadly Bundesliga attacker.