‘Important’ Sturridge could feature for Liverpool at Leicester
Jürgen Klopp says pre-season chat with striker centred only on his role at Anfield
Daniel Sturridge is making his way back to full fitness after injury. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Jürgen Klopp insists the striker is still an important part of his plans and that a pre-season chat between the pair centred only on Sturridge’s role at the club and not his desire to play elsewhere. “We had a good talk and it was not a case of him asking when or where he could go. It was about what we planned for this season,” Klopp said.
“He is important to us and I could have taken him to Leicester in midweek but I can only select 11 players and Daniel would not have started. So we took a responsible decision. Rather than take him for 10 or maybe 20 minutes from the bench, we thought it was better to leave him behind so he could train twice and get better physically. We had Dom Solanke and Danny Ings for the bench and the more Daniel trains the better he gets, so that was the only reason for it.”
Sturridge is making his way back to full fitness after injury, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain appears to be struggling to adapt to Liverpool’s demands following his move from Arsenal and was unconvincing in his first start for his new club at Leicester, whereas Mohamed Salah has slotted straight in and has scored three league goals already.
No big secret
According to Klopp there is no big secret: the Egyptian was able to hit the ground running thanks to arriving so early in the transfer window.
“You should never take things like this for granted but I’m not surprised by how quickly he has adapted,” Klopp said. “He had a whole pre-season, so it is not as if he has had to settle in in a minute, which is what people are now expecting of Ox. He has been working with us for many weeks, so it’s no problem for him.
“You cannot say he was cheap at £38 million but he’s a very good player, one we were always convinced about. You could see his potential in his first game at Watford. It was really physical and maybe a few people had doubts but he played better than anyone could have imagined. He was a kid when he was at Chelsea. Now he is more mature and everything is better.”
Arsène Wenger wants to push new contract talks with Aaron Ramsey and Danny Welbeck, whose deals at Arsenal expire in the summer of 2019. However, the manager has warned that because of the inflation of the transfer market more and more players are set to enter the last years on their contracts.
Arsenal have a clutch of players in their final 12 months, most notably Alexis Sánchez and Mesut Özil, and there would be consternation if Ramsey and Welbeck were to go down the same path. Welbeck is out until mid-October with a groin injury but he started the season well while Ramsey was impressive in Sunday’s 0-0 draw at Chelsea.
“It is something we want to address,” Wenger said in relation to fresh terms for Ramsey and Welbeck. “Both of them are in a good moment for us. But with the level of transfers and the amounts that players expect on their contracts, you will have more and more players going into the final year of their contracts. You will be in a position where you either extend for money you cannot afford or you go into the final year of their contract.
“This season, there were 107 players in the Premier League who got into the final year of their contract and you will see that more. The clubs want too much money for normal players.
“They say that if one player is worth £200 million [like Neymar], then this player is worth £50 million. But everybody knows for that player £50 million is too much and they cannot afford it. So what happens? The club cannot sell and doesn’t extend the contract, so more and more players are going into the final year of their contract.”