Liverpool face a nervous wait to determine if Daniel Sturridge will be fit enough to play any role in their forthcoming Premier League clash against Southampton at Anfield. The England striker missed last weekend's stalemate with Tottenham after suffering a knock to his knee in training and also did not feature in the 1-1 Europa League draw against Rubin Kazan on Thursday night.
Manager Jurgen Klopp confirmed prior to that disappointing Group B tie that the injury was not serious and that a return to action against Ronald Koeman's Saints was always the likely target. With the problem seemingly not improving, however, his manager admits that he will have to make a late decision on Sturridge's involvement after one final training session on 24 October.
"[His situation] is not much better, we have to see day by day," the former Borussia Dortmund favourite said at his latest press conference, as reported by the Liverpool Echo. "If he can train tomorrow completely normal then he's an option. Maybe not as a starter but he's an option and I have to wait."
Liverpool's attacking options were handed a significant boost prior to the visit of Southampton, with both Christian Benteke and Roberto Firmino introduced as second-half substitutes against Rubin after recovering from hamstring and back injuries respectively. Neither player had been available for selection since late September, but Benteke in particular showed little sign of rustiness after replacing Philippe Coutinho with 27 minutes remaining and being denied a late winner only by the width of the post.
Although Klopp is not yet in a position to field his strongest side, the 48-year-old did hint that he may consider a tactical switch to a two-striker system in future after reiterating his belief that all good players can play together.
"If all the strikers are fit we have four and we have to think about how we take that quality in our game," he added. "I don't know if we play with two on Sunday, but it's an option. Christian and Roberto had two training sessions with the team, usually it's too early but they did well. Christian was unlucky with the post, Roberto became better within the game. Two important options for Sunday."
In other injury news, Klopp confirmed that he intends to hold discussions with the Football Association (FA) concerning academy graduate Jordan Rossiter after the latter sustained a hamstring injury following a sequence of three games in just six days while on international duty for England's U19s. With the midfielder now ruled out for a month, Klopp was incensed that he was allowed to feature so heavily and displayed his anger by comparing the handling of young players to that of a horse.
"Sometimes I have to learn to take better words – but I had the same problem in German so it's not my English. Of course I'm not happy, but I could have informed them before I talked to you. We have to talk about it and that's what we will do."
Klopp offered no further update on Liverpool's other injuries, meaning that the status of centre-back Dejan Lovren remains unclear heading into the match against his former club. The 26-year-old has returned to training this week following an ankle issue, although Jordan Henderson and Jon Flanagan definitely remain out along with long-term injury victims Danny Ings and Joe Gomez.