Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said he has “no idea” whether injury-plagued forward Daniel Sturridge will be ready for the club’s Premier League opener against Arsenal.
Sturridge was a non-fixture in Liverpool’s 4-0 friendly win over Barcelona on Saturday, and did not make the trip to Germany for the 4-0 defeat to Mainz on Sunday.
Asked for a one-word answer on Sturridge’s availability for Sunday’s clash at the Emirates Stadium, the candid Klopp replied: “No idea. That’s a two-word answer!”
A sidelined Sturridge has become a regular picture and despite a relatively handy return of 18 goals, he has made a mere 43 appearances for Liverpool over the past two seasons, due to a variety of issues.
The English international’s current hip complaint only adds to a spate of Liverpool absences, with Dejan Lovren and James Milner picking up injuries against Barcelona, while Marko Grujic was a 39th-minute substitute against Mainz.
Klopp maintained Grujic’s sustained ankle issue is “nothing serious” but Lucas Leiva, Joe Gomez, Mamadou Sakho and Joel Matip are all unavailable.
Nevertheless, Klopp is adamant whoever he picks will be ready for Liverpool’s first game of the Premier League campaign.
“We will be ready for the first game next week, for sure, but if Arsenal was the best game of the season for us, there would be something wrong with the season,” he said.
“We still have to go on. This is only the first game. We cannot decide the whole season in one game, but we need to be as good as possible. And that is what we will be, 100 per cent.
“But I am not in the mood to say this is our final shape.”
Although Klopp was pleased with certain aspects of Liverpool’s play over the two matches, he believes the results are ultimately not an indicator of how his side’s season will pan out.
“It is part of the development. It is about organisation, it is about formation, it is about winning balls. We don’t always talk about pressing. It is important to defend in one-on-one situations and you cannot do that if the formation is not good,” Klopp asserted.
“It was good to watch, but don’t start dreaming because we have won against Barcelona. Before the game, we didn’t think we were on the level of Barcelona and after the game, we don’t think we are higher than them.”