Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge will not be a part of the England squad for the 2018 World Cup in Russia if he remains on the fringes of Jurgen Klopp's side at Anfield according to Reds legend Phil Thompson, who understands the forward's apparent desire to seek a move in the January transfer window.
Sturridge has never managed to establish himself in Klopp's starting line-up during the German's reign on Merseyside. The former Borussia Dortmund boss has afforded the former Manchester City starlet just four starts in all competitions this season, with Roberto Firmino cemented as the first-choice to spearhead the Liverpool attack.
Sturridge was once lauded as one of the most effective strikers in the Premier League, but persistent injury problems have seen his stock fall significantly over the last couple of years. The 28-year-old does now seem to be over the worst of his fitness woes, and is determined to showcase his talents on a regular basis before the World Cup.
Klopp has told of his desire to keep him but a sustained run in the Liverpool starting line-up does not seem to be forthcoming for Sturridge, who was linked with a move away in the summer. Thompson, who served Liverpool both as a player and coach, would understand if the former Chelsea striker decided to leave Anfield as he looks to seize what could be his last chance of playing at a World Cup but is hoping he will remain with his former club.
"If I was Jurgen Klopp I'd want him to stay but I understand Sturridge wanting to go. He will not go to the World Cup if he continues within the current squad status," Thompson told Sky Sports.
"As a Liverpool fan, I want to see our squad remain together because it isn't that big as it is and he does enhance it. However, on a personal side, having been a player, I'd be worried his chance is passing him by.
"This could maybe be his last World Cup, and when you look at the players who are in that squad, he can still have a major say if he can get back in there. He must be thinking he could play a part this summer.
"I think he'll want to play more regularly and look at his options in January. He'll look at someone like Jermain Defoe and think there is hope that he can leave and get back into the squad."
Sturridge has already plied his trade for three of the Premier League's fabled top six, but Thompson thinks the Liverpool forward would have to join a club further down the table or look overseas in order to receive the game-time he craves.
"I don't think one of the big six would take him so it is a big decision what he does," Thompson said. "He could also get games by going abroad."
"Defoe thought he was going to Bournemouth to play but he doesn't get in and is now out of the England squad again, so Daniel has got to think about where he is guaranteed the minutes."