Daniel Sturridge can be a “very decisive player” for Liverpool if he can build on a sterling pre-season, according to manager Jurgen Klopp.
The Reds striker, who spent 2018 on loan at West Bromwich Albion having fallen out of favour at Anfield, has impressed since returning to Merseyside, featuring in all five of their pre-season games so far, including the International Champions Cup clash with Borussia Dortmund.
Once heralded as one of the great young talents of the English game, he has struggled with fitness and injury since transferring to Liverpool from Chelsea in early 2013, and subsequently missed out on the England squad which travelled to Russia for the World Cup.
But the 28-year-old is “loving” his return to the fold and Klopp feels that his talents will stand him in good stead if he can keep up the momentum.
“We’re not in doubt - and nobody was ever in doubt - about his quality. In this moment he looks really good, to be honest,” Klopp told the club’s official website.
“The most physically strong player in the squad cannot play football like Daniel Sturridge and he has no possibility to be that, to be the marathon man of the team, but he can be a very decisive player.
“It’s a good moment and hopefully it will stay like that.”
Liverpool lost their opening ICC tie against Dortmund 3-1 in Charlotte but face familiar opposition in their two remaining games as they square up against Manchester City and Manchester United in New Jersey and Michigan respectively.
Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Marko Grujic look set to play their first minutes of pre-season action at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford against the Premier League champions after the three returned to training on Friday following World Cup duty.
There could also be a place for Xherdan Shaqiri in the line-up following the Switzerland international’s transfer from relegated Stoke City.
The winger joined up with the squad in the United States on Tuesday, having also been on a post- World Cup holiday.