Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has dropped a not so subtle hint that he was unsure about starting Daniel Sturridge once Roberto Firmino was available for selection against Paris Saint-Germain last night.
The Brazilian forward had to go off against Tottenham at the weekend with a gruesome-looking eye injury after a challenge from Spurs defender Jan Vertonghen, but was surprisingly given the all-clear to play against PSG on Tuesday night.
Firmino ended up coming on off the bench in the second half and scoring a sublime winner to settle a thrilling contest 3-2 at Anfield.
Speaking afterwards, Klopp admits that once the 26-year-old became available he had to fight the temptation to start him, though he suggests he was pleasantly surprised by how Sturridge performed in his place.
The England international has not had the best of times in a Liverpool shirt for a while now, becoming less of a regular in the side after some injury problems, and spending some time out on loan in an unconvincing spell with West Brom last season.
However, Sturridge immediately showed Klopp what he can do by scoring the opener against PSG, and the German manager was full of praise for him after the game.
‘We only had one session this morning in which Bobby (Firmino) tested a little bit and then went inside,’ he is quoted in the Liverpool Echo.
‘It was a moment where you have to show faith in the squad. When you have Bobby Firmino available you always think ‘come on, play him’ but it was nice to see how Daniel performed.
‘He paid back 100%, so it’s so cool for him and for us. It’s such a big, important sign.
‘And bringing Bobby on after 70 minutes is really nice, I really liked that.’