Man up, Klopp tells Liverpool’s injury-plagued Daniel Sturridge
Striker needs to learn the difference between ‘serious pain and what is only pain’ says manager
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has warned Daniel Sturridge he must learn to play through the pain barrier in order to conquer his injury problems.
Sturridge pulled out of the squad for the 2-1 Europa League win over Bordeaux on Thursday after reporting discomfort in his foot.
The 26-year-old has missed almost as many matches as he has featured in since joining the club in January 2013 and hip surgery in May has restricted him to 252 minutes over three appearances this season.
He featured in only 18 matches in the previous campaign because of thigh, calf and hip problems and Klopp has yet to play him since taking over as manager in mid-October.
The German has made allowances for the amount of time Sturridge has been sidelined, but admits the England international cannot be given an extended period to recover because they are deep into the season.
“The situation is Daniel was very often injured in the last few months, and maybe years, so it is normal when you get back in training usually it is not the quality, but you need training,” Klopp said ahead of Sunday's Premier League clash against Swansea.
“Your body has to learn to adapt to new intensities of training and in this time you have to learn what is serious pain and what is only pain.
“Everyone wants him back on the pitch but we all have to learn.
“Now we can say [his latest issue] is not that serious but it is not possible to go on as before so we have to react to every situation – which is normal for injuries.
“When Daniel comes back usually after this long break you would train five weeks in a row and play only in friendly games.
“That would be the best, but of course we know the world is not perfect so we have to try the best and the quickest.”
Meanwhile, Liverpool return to the Premier League on Sunday with an ideal opportunity to continue their revival under Klopp when struggling Swansea visit Anfield.
Klopp is refusing to focus on the top of the table but wants to get closer to the leading pack, who remain in touching distance thanks to Liverpool’s resurgence since the German replaced the sacked Brendan Rodgers.
“I don’t know in this moment who will win the league and I don’t care,” Klopp said.
“At this moment it’s only important to be concentrated on your own situation and your progress.
“If it would help to think about the end of the season I would do it.
“But it’s always important how far you are away from the position you dream off. It’s better to be eight [points off top] than 20 but two would be better than eight, so we have to try and close this gap if possible and that’s what we try.”
Liverpool are likely to be without joint leading scorer Philippe Coutinho due to a hamstring injury, while Sturridge is also expected to continue his injury absence.
But provided Christian Benteke is able to play a second game in four days following his own recent injury problems, Klopp – who is also without long-term absentee Danny Ings and suspended midfielder Lucas Leiva – insists he is not concerned about his attacking resources.
“It’s not the most difficult situation with the strikers because we have Christian Benteke, Divock Origi and Roberto [Firmino],” he said.
“But of course we need all of them because of the big number of games.”
Swansea’s recent problems have placed pressure on manager Garry Monk.
But Monk, who guided the club to their best ever Premier League finish of eighth place last season, insists he retains the backing of club chairman Huw Jenkins and has been charged with leading an upturn in fortunes.
“I know Huw and the board very well. We all want to get through this period, we want points on the board,” he said.
“We discuss that. He is supportive. He wants improvement, but he knows how things are. He’s given me his full backing. He’s been extraordinary and he knows how it works.
“The way he has talked to me is about how successful we have been. He knows the way I work. He’s shown nothing but support.”
Swansea will be without suspended former Liverpool midfielder Jonjo Shelvey as they look for their second away win of the season and first ever league victory at Anfield.