Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has brushed off concerns over Daniel Sturridge's reaction following his substitution during their 1-1 draw against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday (2 April). The English forward was replaced by Divock Origi in the 71st minute and the manager has confirmed that the change was brought about by a need for a tactical shift rather than to protect the striker's fitness.
Sturridge was making his ninth appearance since returning from a long-term injury but has yet to complete the full 90 minutes during the game. The striker is yet to achieve full fitness, but was visibly frustrated at being replaced. However, the manager, rather than being concerned, welcomed the former Manchester City and Chelsea striker's reaction.
Klopp revealed that the change, which saw the arrival of the Belgium international forward, was tactical as they looked to get in behind the Spurs defence during the latter stages of the game. But it was to no avail as both clubs wasted a number of chances to grab all the three points and settled for a draw, which did no good for both clubs' end-of-season ambitions.
"I think that's completely normal, especially with the quality of Daniel Sturridge. He has to think 'leave me on the pitch and I can decide the game'," Klopp said, as quoted by the Liverpool Echo.
"That's true, but in this moment we need other help in the game. We needed ways behind the line. We needed Divock's physical strength so I changed."
"I could have changed Adam Lallana and gone with two strikers. But in my opinion, and only my opinion counts, it didn't make sense so that's it."
"I saw that he was not happy because I'm not blind. But that's not a problem because if he came off and (celebrated) something would be really wrong," the German coach explained.
"You cannot play football with this confidence when you are like we are. You have to think 'yes, I'm the best'. I like this — as long as he doesn't come off the pitch and do something really strange like kicking me from behind."