'Sturridge never wanted Liverpool exit' - Klopp sees improvement in striker

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The England international was linked with a move away from Anfield over the summer, but his manager insists transfer talks were never held

Jurgen Klopp maintains that Daniel Sturridge never pushed for a summer move away from Liverpool and that he has a big role to play this season.

Having struggled for game time in 2016-17, the England international striker was heavily linked with a transfer throughout the most recent window.

Liverpool 15/2 to beat Leicester 2-1

He was, however, to see the deadline pass without a sale being sanctioned, with Divock Origi the only frontman to head for the exits – as he linked up with Wolfsburg on loan.

Klopp claims the subject of Sturridge leaving was never discussed, with the 28-year-old aware of his importance to the Reds.

The German coach said: “Yes, we did talk and it was good.

“It was not a talk of him saying, ‘When can I go?’ or, ‘Where can I go?’ Not that talk, but about what we planned for this season.

“It is not if he could be important. He is important. But in the end, I have 11 players and stuff like this. We are fine.”

Sturridge was restricted to just seven Premier League starts last season, but has already made two this term.

Daniel Sturridge Sydney FC v Liverpool Friendly 24052017

He has proven to be a useful asset as Sadio Mane serves a three-match ban, with Klopp of the opinion that a proven goalscorer is benefiting from being clear of the fitness issues which have held him back in the past.

“He’s always getting better because he can train all the time,” said the Reds boss.

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“We decided not to take him to Leicester [in midweek] and that was a responsible decision. We would have taken him, but he would not have started. Maybe he would have had 10 minutes, 30 minutes or extra-time.

“But then we decided it was better to stay here and train twice, because he can get better physically.

Having suffered a Carabao Cup defeat at Leicester on Tuesday, Liverpool are back at the King Power Stadium on Saturday for a Premier League encounter which will see them attempting to snap out of a four-match winless run in all competitions.