LONDON: Jurgen Klopp may have to fight to curb his impatience with Daniel Sturridge ahead of Liverpool’s testing return to Premier League duty this evening away to leaders Manchester City.

Liverpool desperately need the England striker fit and firing on all cylinders to ease the attacking burden resting on the shoulders of Christian Benteke and ‘apprentice’ Divock Origi. The trouble is that injuries have restricted Sturridge to completing 90 minutes only three times in Liverpool’s last 47 league games.

Sturridge’s latest setback was a knee injury suffered in a training ground collision with Jordan Ibe last month before Klopp’s first game in charge. The attacking problems facing Klopp were exacerbated by the loss of England under-21 forward Danny Ings to a long-term ligament injury.

At least, almost unnoticed during a dramatic international break, Sturridge has returned to full training. Manchester City may be just too soon for Klopp to take the risk though he may be tempted to include Sturridge among the substitutes against the player’s old club.

Training return

Klopp will be grateful for any glimmer of light over injuries. England’s James Milner is fit to return to a midfield still shorn of club captain Jordan Henderson (broken foot) and England under-21 prospect Jordan Rossiter (hamstring). Leftback Joe Gomez and central defender Mamadou Sakho remain among long-term casualties in defence.

Inevitably, the Liverpool management thoughts are already turning to the transfer window in January. Schalke’s Leroy Sane has impressed both Liverpool scouts and Manchester United while Klopp may face competition from Arsenal if he wants to press an interest in Granit Xhaka. Liverpool may also recall former Barcelona academy product Sergi Canos from his loan spell with second division Brentford.

Liverpool sit currently 10th, precisely in midtable, and four points adrift of the Europa League places but nine behind City. Their away record is comparatively good: they have lost only once in six games ‘on the road’ but their resilience and frenetic style of play will face its most difficult test against a City side who have won five or their six home games, scoring 19 goals in the process and conceding only five.

At least history is on Liverpool’s side. City have a worse record against Liverpool than against every other club in England and have won only four of their 16 games against the Reds since 2008.

Most of the focus on Saturday will not be on Klopp however. The novelty of his presence in the Premier League is wearing off. Instead the centre of concern will be Raheem Sterling’s performance against the club from whom he forced his £49m summer sale.

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