Sturridge ‘no chance’ to face Exeter; Flanagan to return

Date published: Tuesday 19th January 2016 5:25

Jon Flanagan: Right-back could make Liverpool return

Jurgen Klopp says Daniel Sturridge has “no chance” of facing Exeter but is delighted to welcome Jon Flanagan back into the squad.

England striker Sturridge has been plagued by injury since moving to Anfield and has not played since the 2-0 defeat at Newcastle in early December.

Liverpool host Exeter in an FA Cup third-round replay on Wednesday night but Klopp has revealed the 26-year-old is no closer to a return.

“No. No chance for Daniel. He has had a break in training because of some issues. He’s now back training but losing time,” Klopp said.

“But no team training since Newcastle. I don’t know how long it is. That’s not a situation we can think about him.”

In better news for Klopp, Flanagan could make his first Liverpool appearance for 629 days against the League Two outfit – who held the Reds to a 2-2 draw at St James’ Park.

The 23-year-old starred in the side which came agonisingly close to winning the Premier League title in 2014, making his England debut later that year.

However, the right-back has been sidelined by a knee injury for almost two years, making three appearances for the club’s under-21’s since returning to full training last month.

“Jon is in a really good way and we’re really happy about this,” Klopp said.

“The medical department decided that he’s not for the started line-up but if nothing happens he’s on the bench.

“It’s a long time for him and it’s the first step back for him, being back in the dressing room and not in a suit, in a tracksuit!”

Former Borussia Dortmund boss Klopp is expected to name a similar starting XI to the team which drew at Exeter two weeks ago.

Christian Benteke captained a young side made up of numerous academy products including Brad Smith, Connor Randall and Kevin Stewart.

“You never can be sure and I don’t want to put pressure on them,” he added.

“We play at Anfield and I would say we don’t have to think so much about the first game. It’s a big chance and we can show the young boys that we trust them.

“It’s very important. It’s a real competition against a good team. It’s similar to Germany, they all know how to play football. It’s a real man’s competition.

“They are excited. Anfield is a special place. I’m happy for them, hopefully we can create an atmosphere and go to the next round.

“The boys who will play tomorrow are focused, they see it as a big opportunity and I’m looking forward to watching it.”

Exeter, meanwhile, could welcome back David Wheeler among the substitutes after the winger recovered from a foot injury.

Jayden Stockley, who has signed on loan from Bournemouth, is cup-tied having played for Portsmouth earlier in the competition.

Midfielder Ryan Harley (hip) remains out.

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