The England international has endured a testing campaign at Anfield, having taken his time to recover from injury and return to full fitness.
When he has been fit, the hitman has largely impressed—scoring eight goals in 890 minutes in the Premier League, despite making only 10 starts—and he delivered a star turn in the Reds’ Europa League semi-final second leg triumph over Villarreal on Thursday, scoring the Merseysiders’ second goal on the day.
However, there have been some clues suggesting an underlying friction with coach Klopp, not least when the versatile attacker was overlooked completely for the first leg of the semi-final against Villarreal.
Speaking ahead of the Reds’ EPL bout against Watford on Sunday, Sturridge has firmly denied suggestions that there is any tension between him and the German coach.
“Not at all! Never!” the forward began, adamantly, when asked by journalists about whether there was any friction between he and Klopp [quotes as per the Telegraph].
“There is never any on my part and there is never any on the manager’s part, either, I don’t think. It is his job to pick the team. I can never be upset,” he continued.
“This is a team game and if he chooses to pick someone else, I have to take it on the chin.
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“You know what? I can say it: I can be upset if I am not playing. But that is natural for any player to be upset. You just have to take it on the chin. And when you do come on, you have to be in the right frame of mind.”
If he can remain fit over the coming months, Sturridge could potentially have a career-defining few weeks ahead of him, with a likely showing in the Europa League final as well as a potential spot as part of England’s European Championships squad this summer on the horizon.