There’s few better ways to go into a match than coming off a morale boosting victory over the league leaders, but Liverpool travel to Sunderland on Wednesday still looking less than assured in front of the net. Following the 6-1 demolition of Southampton in the League Cup quarter-final, the Anfield outfit went on a four match winless streak with their stuttering performances in the final third a major concern — a fact not lost on Reds boss Jurgen Klopp.
“It’s always like this if you don’t have enough goals – you have to talk and think about how we can bring the other players into position to score goals. We have such quality at headers that we could use this at set plays, but we haven’t often enough,” mused the German manager in his pre-match press conference. “But we are working on it. Always when it comes to scoring goals, you have to be in situations more often – you cannot say wait for the one chance and you will score it because it is not like this. You always have to be in the positions.”
Video courtesy of Fooball TV 2
Although Daniel Sturridge was quick to tell social media that he’s raring to go, Klopp was quick to shut down the perpetually injured striker with the Liverpool manager keen to have the 26-year old complete a “mini pres-season” to get his fitness back where it should be. Even with Divock Origi now sidelined with a hamstring problem, they’ll be no early return for Sturridge which means that the German will likely be looking to Christian Benteke, who has seen his place in the pecking order plummet under the ex-Borussia Dortmund manager, to fill in up top.
“He is a player with such potential, so always if he doesn’t play perfectly you think, ‘Okay, there’s a little bit, there’s a little bit [where he can improve]’. Of course, he is not the same [type of] striker as Daniel and Divock because of the movements. All of the strikers are different,” explained Klopp, deflecting some of the harsh criticism that Benteke has come under. “We have to use his natural skills and he has to try to be more involved in the game, that’s all, and then we can make steps together,” he continued. “It’s not possible for a player to come in and play their own style when the team plays differently. In the end, a striker has to make goals – everybody knows this – but there are more times in a game when we need him, for defending set plays with his big quality and offensive set plays with his big quality.”