Daniel Sturridge '100 per cent' repays Liverpool faith as Jurgen Klopp delights

David Lynch
REUTERS

Jurgen Klopp believes his show of faith in Daniel Sturridge was ‘100 per cent paid back’ by the striker’s contributions to Liverpool’s thrilling 3-2 victory over Paris Saint-Germain.

Preparations for the visit of the French champions took place without the Reds’ first-choice centre-forward after he sustained a nasty eye injury during their weekend win at Tottenham Hotspur.

And, though the Brazilian’s sight had recovered sufficiently by Tuesday morning, Klopp took the surprising decision to name him on the bench for his side’s first Champions League group game of the new season.

The bravery of that selection was rewarded when Sturridge capped an impressive performance with the opening goal and Firmino won the game in injury time after replacing his fellow striker.

(Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

In explanation of his decision to omit his No.9, Klopp said: “There was no chance yesterday, absolutely no chance the day before, and this morning he came in and said, ‘I’m fine, I can open the eye again’. That helps! It was good.

“Yesterday it didn’t look really well, and we had only one session, which we really used. That was this morning and Bobby tested a little bit but then he went in.

“And I really think it is a moment where you have to show faith in the squad. Yes, when you have Bobby Firmino available, you actually always think, ‘Come on, bring him’.

“But it was nice to see how Daniel performed tonight and he paid 100 per cent back so that’s so cool for him, for us, such an important sign.

(Getty Images)

“Then bringing Bobby after 70 minutes, it’s a nice tool to be honest, I really like that. So it was good.”

Klopp went on to reveal that his pre-match pep talk with Sturridge featured a declaration that the 29-year-old is fitter now than at any point since his manager’s arrival at Anfield.

“[It was] a great performance of Daniel, to be honest,” he added.

“The three in midfield did an outstanding job but they only can do it when both the two wingers and - how we played - the No.9 is helping in all these situations to keep the formation compact. It was fantastic.

(REUTERS)

“I said to Daniel before the game, ‘You are in the best shape since I know you, physical-wise, and now you have to use that’ - and that’s what he did. Super game, super goal.

“That we had then the opportunity to bring Bobby Firmino…”