LONDON (Reuters) – Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp is unlikely to be able to unleash Daniel Sturridge for the first time since taking over this weekend at home to Southampton because the striker is struggling with a knee injury.
The German is still looking for his first victory since taking over this month from Brendan Rodgers and hopes that the injury-prone Sturridge would be available for the Premier League game on Sunday are receding.
“It’s not much better at the moment. With Daniel’s injury we have to take it day by day, and see if he’s better,” Klopp told a news conference on Friday.
“If he can train tomorrow completely normal, then he’s an option. Because the break is not too long, then maybe not as a starter, but he’s an option. We have to wait for this.
“We have another treatment with him today, another screening because there’s a bit of fluid inside — not much but a little — but it’s day by day.”
The euphoria of Klopp’s arrival has been tempered by two draws. Last weekend’s 0-0 stalemate at Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League was followed by a 1-1 draw at home in the Europa League against Russian side Rubin Kazan.
It is not quite the start that Klopp, or Liverpool’s fans, would have hoped for.
“In my first season in Dortmund we had 15 draws, if you want it’s a half win! You don’t lose. We have to get more stable,” the former Borussia Dortmund manager said.
“I didn’t expect we would run through the league from the moment I started. This league is too strong.
“But I have seen many things, I’m not sure what was there before but I saw many (good) things.
“My job is to give the team some ideas in the box.”
While Sturridge is a major doubt, the return to fitness of Christian Benteke and Roberto Firmino has given Klopp more attacking options for the visit of Southampton.
They both came off the bench in the second half against Kazan and could play as a partnership.
“Of course, it is an option,” Klopp said.
“It is possible we can play like this, but I don’t know at this moment if we will play on Sunday with two strikers — but it is an option for the future.”
(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond)