Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says he has not given any thought to Daniel Sturridge’s long-term future even though he does not know when the England forward might return to fitness.
Sturridge has managed just 106 minutes over three matches since Klopp succeeded Brendan Rodgers at Anfield and is not in contention for Saturday’s FA Cup fourth-round visit of West Ham or Tuesday’s trip to Premier League leaders Leicester after more interruptions to his training schedule.
Since he moved to Merseyside three years ago Sturridge has been unavailable for 54.8 per cent of his time at the club – a total of 615 days missed out of 1,122.
“He cannot play tomorrow and for sure against Leicester but I don’t know what happens after Leicester,” said Klopp.
“He is still working, sometimes it’s better, sometimes it’s a bit worse because of one or the other issues.
“He has done a lot of sessions in the last few weeks but it is always interrupted through a few breaks so he needs consistency in sessions and that is what we try to do.
“With his injury history that is not coincidence, some things are not right if you are injured that often.
“I think everyone in this room knows Daniel much better than myself.
“I’ve seen him playing, I’ve seen him a few times in training but there is no doubt about his quality but that is not the thing to think about.
“I am not here to think about what happens with a player in the future, we have to work in this moment together with Daniel on his fitness.
“He is a very good player but in this moment he is not available so we don’t have to talk too much about him.”
After seeing his side hit new physical heights in beating Stoke in a penalty shoot-out on Tuesday to secure a Capital One Cup final appearance Klopp will be forced to make changes for the visit of the Hammers.
The German is still awaiting the return of a number of injured players apart from Sturridge – Philippe Coutinho, Divock Origi, Martin Skrtel and Nathaniel Clyne, so he believes he has no option but to switch things around even though he is facing Premier League opponents who have beaten his side twice already this season.
“The Stoke game was maybe not the best game ever; it was successful but on the other side it was intensive and we broke all records,” said Klopp.
“The squad ran 156 kilometres. I had a few games with overtime but I’ve never had this number. Stoke had only three kilometres less.
“We had some players run 17km in the Stoke game with some running the highest speed ever.
“Nobody forced it. I did not say before ’Please try to break all records’ but it was the game and we wanted to go to the final.
“But I cannot say ’Let’s go again’, it does not work like this.
“We can’t ignore this and we will not ignore this.
“It will be a different team for sure to the last game, we have no other chance.”
Tomorrow’s match will be Liverpool’s ninth in 29 days, the 16th since the beginning of December and the 26th in 106 days since Klopp took over in October.
The Reds boss has spoken of the lack of actual training time he has had with the squad, mainly using the intervening days for recovery, but he expects his players to come through such a testing period.
“I or the players are not in a position to be concerned or moan about it,” said Klopp, whose chances of bolstering his squad with the signing of Shakhtar Donetsk forward Alex Teixeira look slim after the Ukrainian club’s general director claimed they would not sell for less than £53million and probably not until the summer.
“To play every three days is difficult. If I speak about it then maybe it is ’Maybe the squad should be bigger’ but they (injured players) will come back, ’Maybe we should buy a few players’ but they will come back.
“It is not possible. We are not here to throw the money out of the window, we try to work with what we have.
“Of course it is difficult to stay concentrated. We are one month after Boxing Day and how many games have we had?
“We are still here and we played two of the most spectacular games at the end of this period.
“Nobody wants a few games more but we are professional football players.”