After initially suggesting that Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge could have a role to play in the build-up to the loss to West Ham United at the weekend, Reds boss Jurgen Klopp was forced to not only rule him out of the meeting with the Hammers less than 24-hours before kick-off, but he’s now confirmed that the 26-year old remains unavailable ahead of their League Cup semi-final first leg meeting with Stoke City later today.
“Daniel has had some problems, not serious, but he could not make all the sessions and we had to wait a day,” he said in his pre-match presser. “It is how a pre-season can be. Some little things happen and we have to handle this. It is not a row of sessions and we say: ‘Now we are here and go …’ I will pick him when he is ready, I will not hold him back,” he explained, remaining cautious with his fitness. “But he has not had one session with the team so he is not available.”
That Sturridge’s return to fitness remains plagued by complications comes as no surprise at all with the striker making only 19-appearances in all competitions last season and a mere 6-appearances throughout the current campaign as he struggles with a continual string of muscle problems — something the club hopes will be solved by his extended spell on the sidelines and some intensive training.
“What Daniel has to do at this moment is hard work to be prepared for the things we make in a football game. He has not had a complete pre-season in a long time,” continued Klopp, ploughing a now familiar furrow. “In pre-season we load our bodies with strength, energy, all we need for the games and then the problems start,” he said, taking an almost conciliatory tone. “It would be easy for me to say: ‘Come on, let’s try, we have problems, we don’t score enough goals, let’s see what will happen’ but we have to wait and be patient.”