'I'm not thinking about next season' - Sturridge coy on future after Liverpool Champions League glory

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The Reds striker is set to leave Anfield when his contract expires on June 30 but is yet to finalise his next move

Daniel Sturridge remained coy on his future having seemingly brought the curtain down on his Liverpool career.

The England international is out of contract on June 30 and is unlikely to agree a new deal, meaning he will leave Anfield after six-and-a-half years on Merseyside during which he has made 160 appearances, scoring 67 goals.

Sturridge's final act in a Liverpool shirt came as an unused substitute in Saturday's Champions League final win over Tottenham in Madrid, and while he did not get on the pitch at the Wanda Metripolitano, he still played his part in the European success.

The 29-year-old scored the Reds' first continental goal of the season against Paris Saint-Germain in September, and he believes their run to the final showed the strength in depth Jurgen Klopp has at his disposal before going onto address his potential future plans.

“Oh of course, yes I contributed,” he told reporters. “And even the players who haven’t played a minute. 

“There are guys who have been on the bench and haven’t played a single minute, but they have been a part of it: from training, to acting like the opposition that we have been playing against, to doing a job, to sacrificing themselves and the way that they play just to train to do a job on the training field to help them prepare themselves the best way that they can. It’s amazing.

“I don’t even want to talk about all that stuff. I feel like it has been an incredible time and I am not going to talk about next season or anything. What’s important now is celebrating something so momentous, something we were striving for, working for for a long time. to finally win something is amazing.”

Victory on Saturday secured a first trophy for Klopp since taking over the reins at Liverpool in October 2015 as he ended a six-match run of losing in showpiece finals.

Jurgen Klopp Liverpool Champions League Winner 06/01/19

And Sturridge believes that this is likely to be first of many pieces of silverware that the club will pick up under the charismatic German coach.

"It’s my second time winning it. It’s almost similar. The one with Chelsea was the first in the club’s history and this is the first under this manager, so it’s a similar kind of feeling. 

“Once you win one, you hope the floodgates open and you continue winning. It’s that culture of getting over the finishing line.

"When you have been trying so hard and you have been pipped at the post many times – we have lost in I think three finals since the manager has been here – you feel as if ‘are we ever going to win a trophy’, so, to be able to do it, to be able to lift silverware is what you work for every day, day in day out, as a group of players, it’s a beautiful feeling.”

Sturridge believes the pain of those near-misses – the 2016 League Cup and Europa League finals, last season’s Champions League and this season’s Premier League – played a part as Liverpool kept their nerve this time around.

“You learn, you definitely learn,” he said. “You understand what you didn’t do. There are always little things that you can nit-pick about that you didn’t do, so to be able to win – that’s what it’s all about, it’s amazing.

“The difference is that the heartache never goes away: you always think about it. People were saying ‘if we win we won’t think about it’ but you do. You always think ‘what if? what could we have done differently, how can we prepare differently?’.

“All the things when you lost, you take them into a game because you’ve learnt from them: all the pain, all the heartache you had prior to that. 

Liverpool parade

“And when you come into a game like this, you go: ‘ok, cool’. You come in at half time and you talk different. You’re like: ‘ok, remember what happened last time guys. Let’s do this’. 

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“We had meetings as a group of players in the week. We said: ‘ok, if we go one up how do we play? If we go one down how do we play?’ I’s about being prepared for everything.

“[The players’ meeting] was just like: ‘look, it’s our time, we’ve prepared ourselves as best we can.’ It was just about ‘if we go behind how do we deal with it, if we go ahead how do you deal with it?’ And we haven’t had those conversations before. And I feel like maybe before the Europa league final we didn’t prepare as well. 

“Last season, we said ‘we didn’t prepare well the season before and we have learnt’. This year we have had two finals now, so you have learnt so much more. I think that’s what makes teams so successful. They have experienced it.”

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