Jurgen Klopp hailed Daniel Sturridge as a “real striker” after his goal against Aston Villa but refuses to contemplate where Liverpool would be were he always fit.
Goals from Sturridge, James Milner, Emre Can, Divock Origi, Nathaniel Clyne and Kolo Toure earned Liverpool a 6-0 win at Villa Park, condemning the hosts to their heaviest home defeat since 1935 on Sunday.
Sturridge had not started in the Premier League since October during an injury-plagued season which has included a hip problem, knee injury, foot issue and hamstring trouble.
His goal was a reminder to England boss Roy Hodgson ahead of Euro 2016 and Klopp was delighted to have him back.
“We need the goals of Daniel and he needs the goals. For me it’s not a surprise he can score goals,” Klopp said.
“He is a real striker. It’s really good to see. When he hides himself on the pitch it’s really difficult to defend (against) if he is always somewhere.
“He changed a lot of things, but we can only speak about this when he is available. When he’s not we cannot say ‘but with Daniel it would have been different’. It was brilliant and you saw he was not too happy when we took him off.
“It was perfect for him and hopefully he is available for us for the next game. It was a perfect goal and it’s good for us when we have all players available. In football life is not like this and you have to get results when you don’t have all players available.”
But despite the manner of their victory Klopp refused to gloat out of respect for broken Villa, who are bottom and eight points from safety.
He said: “It’s perfect for the boys, they really feel it makes sense to work in this way. It’s not a day to sing songs or things like this for us. That’s part of the respect for Aston Villa, a great club in a difficult situation. If one team wins 6-0 another loses 6-0 and that’s not too nice for them.
“It’s not too often in a manager’s life, we keep it for bad times. It was a good game for us and a good result for the soul.”