Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is fighting with one hand behind his back at the moment, simply because of the number of injuries in his first team squad.
The Reds face an FA Cup third round replay with Exeter City at Anfield on Wednesday night, which they are odds of 3/10 to win.
The German boss will once again be without the services of England international striker Daniel Sturridge, who seems to spend more time in the treatment room than on the pitch.
Is there something else going on?
Sturridge has endured a difficult 18 months through injury and has started just four games this season because of his problems.
Some have suggested there is more to it than just injury problems and former-Liverpool midfielder Dieter Hamann suggests that his former-Manchester City teammate is not willing to play through the pain barrier.
Sturridge attitude and temperament were questioned earlier in his career, but when he started to score goals on a regular basis for Liverpool those question marks seemed to disappear. It was then all about the striker’s ability and less about his character.
The 26-year-old has experienced ankle, hip and hamstring injuries in the last 18 months, which has led to the striker being labelled as injury-prone. The regular spells on the sidelines points to something more wrong than just bad luck with injuries.
Klopp needs the right players
Reds boss Klopp is highly-regarded by those in and out of football. His coaching ability has been described as ‘innovative’ and ‘ahead of his time’ by some. He is a very affable guy who wears his heart on his sleeve.
Klopp will bring a team success with the right conditions, which usually involves having fully-fit and willing players. The German boss likes his players to give their all, just like he does.
Sturridge struggles to even get on the pitch, let alone give his all for his team. Liverpool has struggled for consistency since Klopp’s arrival as well. One of the equations that Klopp has to solve is that of how his team can score more goals.
At Dortmund Jurgen Klopp was shrewd enough to bring in a complete unknown quantity by the name of Robert Lewandowski, who proved to be one of the best bits of business German football has seen for a long time.
The Pole went on to inspire Dortmund to become one of the best teams in the German and European game. When Klopp arrived at Anfield he had the likes of Christian Benteke, Divock Origi and of course Sturridge in his squad. Arguably none of them were ideal to lead the Reds line under Klopp.
A fully-fit Sturridge would probably have been the best player to lead the Reds forward line, but Klopp has been unable to call upon the striker. Klopp needs the right players to be successful at Anfield and Sturridge by the fact that he is very rarely fit does not fit into that category.
As good as Sturridge is when he is fit, Klopp must now make the difficult decision of either continuing to be frustrated by the forward, or move him on.
Linked with a move elsewhere
Sturridge was recently being linked with a £18million move to West Ham by the Brentwood Gazette via the Daily Mirror. That is a lot of money for a player who only made 13 starts last season and for a team that has already got an injury-prone ex-Liverpool striker in their squad in the shape of Andy Carroll.
The Hammers do look like they are in need of forward additions, but I would be very surprised if there was any truth in the story, as surely the east London club would have learnt their lesson about injury-prone strikers by now with Carroll.
Sturridge is no doubt a very good player on his day and when fit, but I believe a lot of Reds fans, and possibly even the team’s boss have now ran out of patience with Daniel Sturridge.
It’s unlikely that the England striker will be sold in the winter transfer window, but the summer could be a different story. It will be Jurgen Klopp’s first full summer transfer window at the club and he will have had time to assess his squad properly.
The German probably knows which players he wants to keep and which players will leave in the summer already. For me Daniel Sturridge is in big danger of leaving Anfield in the summer.
If Liverpool can get anything like the mooted fee of around £18million they should take the money and re-invest it in a striker that fits into Klopp’s style, but more importantly that will be available more often than he is not.
Should Liverpool sell Daniel Sturridge?