Jurgen Klopp thinks Daniel Sturridge is soft


Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is not impressed by Daniel Sturridge’s pain tolerance

Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge is not exactly what you’d call a durable player. His career has been riddled with one injury and then another. His current manager, Jurgen Klopp, is not impressed.

The German manager came out and essentially told the English press that his English attacker is softer than cotton. Specifically, Klopp believes that Sturridge needs to learn the difference between being truly injured and just having normal aches and pains. This doesn’t bode well for Sturridge’s relationship with his new manager.

At best, it is a less than subtle attempt by Klopp to motivate the young attacker. At the worst, it’s an opening salvo in a conflict that will lead to Sturridge’s departure from the club. I’m inclined to think it is the former but Sturridge would be well advised to heed Klopp’s criticism and get fit immediately.

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After all, Sturridge has all the physical attributes that Klopp wants in a striker. He is big, pacy and when he is fit he can run for miles and miles in a match. He profiles as the ideal striker for Klopp’s high press system. Unfortunately, he hasn’t managed to be fit for any of Klopp’s matches at Liverpool yet.

Instead, Klopp has relied on Christian Benteke and Roberto Firmino to lead his line. That presents Klopp with an unusual predicament. Most would consider Benteke to be the superior player but Firmino undoubtedly fits Klopp’s system better. The reemergence of Sturridge could render this argument moot.

Of course, it will never get to that point if Sturridge is unable to fully gain Klopp’s trust. For him to do that it will take more than a sparkling run of quality performances. He will need to show his manager that he can be tough. He will need to grind out quality performances on days where he doesn’t feel up to his physical best.

That will require a total change in his mental approach to the game. Even under Brendan Rodgers he was never a relied upon player. He got the occasional start at striker, played more on the wing and always seemed to be someone “extra” during his days under Rodgers.

He can’t be a luxury player for Klopp at Liverpool. He has too much individual talent for that label and his teammates don’t have enough talent to render him optional. If Klopp is going to have his club firing on all cylinders he will need Sturridge at his best.

Jurgen Klopp is not a manager for soft players. His style demands constant effort and a physical toughness that few players can achieve. To date, Daniel Sturridge has been the very opposite of what Klopp wants. He has been soft and hesitant to play with any sort of knock. Now that Klopp has called him out publicly it’s up to Sturridge to make a crucial change in his career.