Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says he will not rush injury-prone striker Daniel Sturridge back into first-team action until the England international can prove he is more “robust”.
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The 26-year-old was on the bench for Saturday’s 4-1 demolition of erstwhile Premier League leaders Manchester City, the first time he has featured in a matchday squad following Klopp’s arrival.
However, the German said that is no guarantee Sturridge will get a run-out in Thursday night’s Europa League tie at home to Bordeaux, with Klopp stressing the striker needs to be able to prove he won’t suffer any more injury breakdowns.
Sturridge, who netted 21 goals during the 2013-14 campaign as Liverpool finished runners-up to City, made just seven league starts last season as he was sidelined by thigh and calf problems before undergoing a hip operation in May.
“Daniel is coming closer and closer so he can train now seven or eight times in a row – that is the longest period since I’ve been here – and that will help him and in the end help us,” Klopp said.
“My decision you will see (tonight) but it is closer and that is very good. The most important thing in these weeks is he can train without problems. “We have to try to bring in a situation where he is more robust.
“If he is feeling in a good moment maybe a few minutes – or more – we will see in the game.”
Jürgen confirms both Daniel Sturridge and Christian Benteke are in contention to face Bordeaux. Martin Skrtel is ill. #LFC
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) November 25, 2015
Elsewhere, Monaco host Anderlecht with the Ligue 1 side looking to preserve Group J’s only unbeaten record, while leaders Tottenham make the long trip to Azerbaijan to play FK Qarabag.
Celtic’s midfield has been decimated ahead of the visit of Ajax with Scott Brown set for a three month lay off with a knee injury joining Kris Commons on the sidelines while fellow midfielders Nir Bitton and Stefan Johansen suspended for the vital Group A clash.
Borussia Dortmund are already through but the Germans will finish top of Group C with a draw away at second-placed FK Krasnodar.
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