Klopp encouraged by Sturridge return
The German was pleased with the England international’s cameo in the FA Cup defeat to West Ham and was also glad to welcome back Divock Origi and Philippe CoutinhoJurgen Klopp was left dejected following Liverpool’s FA Cup exit at West Ham, but the manager took comfort from an encouraging return for Daniel Sturridge as well as some impressive individual performances from his makeshift side.
The England striker came off the bench on 60 minutes at Upton Park to feature for the first time since December 6 after overcoming a hamstring injury and several small muscle issues.
While understandably lacking match sharpness, Sturridge looked a genuine threat during his time on the pitch but despite Philippe Coutinho, also back from a spell on the sidelines, scoring a clever free-kick to level things up on the night, Angelo Ogbonna headed in the winner to send the Hammers through.
Despite the deflating end to the game that had gone into extra-time, Klopp was pleased to welcome back his star duo as well as young Belgian striker Divock Origi.
When asked whether Sturridge would be in contention to start against Aston Villa on Sunday, the German said: “We have to talk first with Daniel, the doctor and all of the medical staff before I make a decision about this.”The game was a little bit longer than I thought because I thought we could decide it after 90 minutes, but we didn’t so it was [another] 30 minutes plus. We will see.
“It was great [to have Sturridge back], everybody saw it. Origi is back, Coutinho is back, so that’s good, but we need consistency in the line-up.”
Klopp selected the likes of Pedro Chirivella, Kevin Stewart and Brad Smith for the FA Cup replay and was impressed with the performances of his fringe players.
“I thought they could play like this so I’m not surprised. But the only reason we were here tonight was to win,” the German added.
“We did a lot of things really well. But the first real chance was a goal for West Ham. Our goal was great, a high-quality goal of Phil Coutinho.
“We changed really offensively and still did well and created chances. It was a big fight. We couldn’t use our chances, they got a free-kick without a foul [which led to Ogbonna’s winner] and we conceded a goal. Now we go home.
“We don’t have to talk about morale, we showed morale and everything is OK with these boys. If you go through the squad tonight, it’s a great game.
“Flanno [Jon Flanagan] was out for 20 months and played 120 minutes tonight – great. Tiago Ilori was at Aston Villa and not in the squad, not really a second-team player, and played really well tonight.
“Next to him, Lucas Leiva was not in his position and played really well. Brad Smith, four or five weeks ago he wasn’t at the club. The double-six [Pedro Chirivella and Kevin Stewart] are very young and were really good.
“[Jordon] Ibe is not in the best moment of the season but was really fighting in the game, Christian the same, fighting in the game. Phil, second time injured – really fighting, a great goal and good play. Everything was good with Joao Teixeira. That’s really good.
“But the only reason we were here was to go into the next round and so we are disappointed. That’s how it is.”