It was not a real surprise seeing Daniel Sturridge pulled off early in the second half against Chelsea. Jurgen Klopp did state that the change was purely tactical, even though Sturridge moved into the tunnel after being subbed.
As quoted by the Liverpool Echo, Klopp laid bare to the fact that his striker was just not fit enough.
“I could see that Daniel couldn’t sprint any more, and we had a healthy young striker on the bench, so I thought we should use him,” said the Liverpool manager.
“The first half was really good from Daniel, but we needed this player there in the centre that we could play with, and play in behind and push up with.
“It’s not an injury, it’s just a situation. Nobody told me about an injury.”
That situation seems to be getting more and more serious. Divock Origi being brought on wasn’t that big surprise but seeing Sturridge run into the tunnel certainly raised a number of questions about the English striker.
Sturridge only started the game against Chelsea because of Roberto Firmino’s injury. The Brazilian would have surely started at Stamford Bridge had he been 100% fit. The 24-year-old is preferred by Klopp in the bigger games against the so called tougher opposition, even though Sturridge is the best finisher at the club.
This does bring up the question as to who is the better player for Klopp.
While Sturridge will score goals, there are a number of issues when he is played into the team. He is not willing to always move out wide and prefers to play down the middle. Also, there is the issue of his energy levels as he might not be the Gegenpressing player that Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool need.
The English striker also isn’t the player who does a lot of the pressing and this is why Firmino is the main man for Klopp. The Brazilian isn’t the sharpest in front of goal but he does provide the perfect foil as an attacker.
Firmino’s game is all about running and being a menace to the opposition. The 24-year-old does have a decent scoring record and already has three goals from five games this season for the Reds. The Brazilian is also about endless running and is someone who does put in a great shift. He doesn’t really complain and is willing to take a bullet for the team regarding his positions, something that Sturridge isn’t known to do.
Let us not forget about the injury record of the Englishman. The last thing that Klopp would want is to constantly chop and change his side. Playing with Firmino at least ensures that his front three can be the same, more or less, which is not a guarantee with Sturridge. The Englishman is just an injury waiting to happen.
Sturridge’s time could be coming to an end at Liverpool and they already have the perfect player to star as the “striker”. Roberto Firmino might not be the man that many expected to take up the mantle of scoring but he is the right candidate for the role in Klopp’s team.