Daniel Sturridge has to learn how to overcome the pain barrier in a bid to put his recent injury nightmares behind, new Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp suggested.
Klopp also said that Sturridge’s latest setback, a foot injury which forced him to miss the 2-1 victory over Bordeaux in Europa League on Thursday, is not a serious issue at all.
The English striker has missed all the nine games the German was in charge of Liverpool, having been out for more than a month with an injured knee.
There is no surety that Sturridge, who has played only 10 Premier League games since the start of last season following a series of injury problems, will find his place in the starting lineup against Swansea at home.
“I understand why everybody’s waiting,” Jurgen Klopp said. “Daniel has very often been injured in the last few months and years.
“If it wasn’t someone with the quality of Daniel, no one would think about it. You have to learn to adapt to the new intensity of training. You have to learn what serious pain is and what only pain is.
“Everybody wants him back on the pitch but we all have to learn. The training was intensive, as it should have been. We’ve had to make an assessment [of the injury]. It’s not that serious but it’s not possible to train as before. That’s completely normal after a long injury.
“Last season he had surgery, and had a really long period out. He has only played three games since, but we have to stay patient. I am sorry for you, sorry for me and sorry for him. But that’s the situation.”
When asked if Sturridge could feature on Sunday, Klopp wasn’t positive enough: “I don’t really know if Daniel has a chance.”
In the absence of the injured English striker, Christian Benteke impressed with his consistency in attack, winning a penalty that was scored by James Milner following the decisive goal against Bordeaux in Europa League.
Benteke also struggling with hamstring and knee injuries since his arrival from Aston Villa for a staggering £32.5 million back in July, and Klopp is not sure about forcing him to play two matches within four days.
Danny Ings is still recovering from a cruciate knee ligament surgery, which means Roberto Firmino could be pushed forward as main striker against Swansea; Divock Origi might be another option.
Klopp revealed: “We have Christian, Divock and Roberto. We need all of them for this big number of games. I don’t know if Christian can play two games in three days. We have to decide.”