Jurgen Klopp has vowed not to treat Daniel Sturridge “like an orange” after vowing to manage the fit-again striker’s game time accordingly.
The Reds boss must decide whether to stick with Sturridge or recall Divock Origi for Wednesday night’s Merseyside derby with Everton at Anfield after seeing the England striker impress with a man-of-the-match display in Sunday’s win at Bournemouth.
But Klopp says he will keep alternating with his attacking options during the run-in, insisting he won’t use Sturridge like an orange and “take each little bit of the juice”.
“If you think Daniel Sturridge can play from the first to the last minute in the last nine games, fine,” Klopp said in quotes attributed to the Liverpool Echo.
“Yes, he is in brilliant shape. I know it. The best thing for us, for him and for England for the European Championships is to keep him in the best shape since I have been here.
“Now we can say ‘Oh my God, Daniel is back, let’s push him through all these games!’ Yeah?
“If you think that is right, write it. If not, don’t ask me anymore. We will do what we think.
“But still, after this long period, you cannot use him as an orange and take each little bit of the juice.”
If Sturridge scores against Everton he will reach 50 goals for Liverpool in just 87 appearances.
In the post-War era Albert Stubbins, Roger Hunt and Fernando Torres are the only Reds players to have reached that milestone quicker.
Klopp on Sturridge – Origi partnership
Klopp has only played Sturridge and Origi together from the start on two occasions this season but the manager believes they could also flourish as a partnership.
“Of course they could. They have shown that they can play together,” he said.
“They can be very good together. But at the end, we have to find the solution. Who knows whether I start with one or two or someone comes on and makes a big difference in the game. It is a great situation and hopefully it stays like this.”
Klopp regrets reacting angrily to being asked about Sturridge’s classy display at the start of his post-match press conference at Bournemouth when he felt that the focus of attention should have been on the team’s performance.
He explained: “After a game when there had been five, new young players, you ask me about this? So I said ‘hey, come on’.
“I could have reacted completely different. I would have now. Maybe if someone had put his fat ass on the red button (to mute the microphone) then he could have stopped it!”