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 today’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% 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.
Philippe Coutinho, Divock Origi, Martin Skrtel, and Nathaniel Clyne, are all still injured so Klopp 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 156km. I had a few games with overtime but I’ve never had this number. Stoke had only 3km 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.”
The 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.
Hammers boss Slaven Bilic was cursing his luck at West Ham’s FA Cup draw — but he is confident his side can beat Liverpool for an unprecedented third time in the same season.
The Hammers have already completed their first league double over Liverpool since 1964, having scored five goals and conceded none.
Yet Bilic admits he was not best pleased when he heard the draw had sent them back to Anfield.
“I was not happy with the draw,” said the Upton Park boss. “We were on the coach to Bournemouth when we heard, and I didn’t think ‘Yes, we’ve beaten them twice’. I thought ‘It’s Liverpool’.
“It is one of the most difficult games we could have got. But we are confident, we beat them twice and have the recent memory of beating them, and we know what to do in the game to have a chance of beating them again.”
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