Daniel Sturridge tells Jurgen Klopp: I am a centre-forward not a winger

• Liverpool striker played out wide in Burnley defeat
• Sturridge: 'It is difficult for me to play wide. I'm a centre-forward'


Posted Thursday, August 25, 2016 by theguardian.com

Daniel Sturridge tells Jurgen Klopp: I am a centre-forward not a winger
Jurgen Klopp issues instructions to the forward Daniel Sturridge as he is about to go on as a substitute against Burton in the EFL Cup.

Daniel Sturridge has expressed his disappointment and frustration at being deployed on the wing by Jurgen Klopp and spelt out his desire to play as a centre-forward for Liverpool. With comments that will raise a few eyebrows at Anfield, the forward made it clear that he is not happy out wide, which is where he started in the Premier League defeat against Burnley last Saturday, and said "everyone knows my best position".

Sturridge was speaking after he came off the substitutes' bench to score twice in a 5-0 win against Burton Albion in the EFL Cup second round on Tuesday, when Divock Origi was given the opportunity to start up front. The Belgian scored Liverpool's opening goal in a comfortable victory and would appear to be the biggest threat to Sturridge's hopes of playing through the middle as an out-and-out striker this season.

At Turf Moor Sturridge found himself wide on the right and struggled to make much impression on an afternoon when Liverpool toiled and lost 2-0 against Sean Dyche's side. The England international gave the impression that he never feels comfortable in that sort of position, whereas he said that as a No9 everything comes so naturally to him that it feels as though he is "on autopilot".

"Of course it is more difficult for me to play wide. I'm a centre-forward," said Sturridge, who claimed that the thinking behind using him on the right at Burnley was not explained to him. "In the modern day game you have to try and be flexible but everyone knows my best position.

"Everyone knows where I enjoy playing the most. I'm a player who plays on instinct, and in the middle I have clarity on movements and things that I have been doing for years. I am on autopilot there. You just do things because you are used to doing it. But when you are out wide, you have got to worry about different things. It's just a different way. The way you move, the way you play – it is all different. You can't play the same as you do as a centre-forward."

Asked whether he was happy playing out wide, Sturridge replied: "Well, I have to do a job for the team. That's not saying I am happy to do it. That's saying I have got to do a job for the team. It's a team game. If I am put in that position, I have to play there."

With Sadio Mané, who was outstanding against Burton, Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino, Georginio Wijnaldum and Adam Lallana, Klopp is not short of attacking options across a range of positions, although Origi and Sturridge are the only recognised centre-forwards.

It will be interesting to see how the Liverpool manager sets his team up at Tottenham on Saturday and whether Sturridge's comments colour his thinking.

Sturridge has featured on the wing for his previous club, Chelsea, and his country in the past, including at the European Championship finals in the summer, and it remains to be seen what plans Sam Allardyce has for a player who is almost certain to be named in his England squad for next month's World Cup qualifier against Slovakia.

"Hopefully I will be in there, it would be nice to be," Sturridge said. "It is a different regime, a different coaching style. I've never worked with Sam or [his assistant] Sammy Lee, so I don't really know how they work. But if I am in the squad, it will be a good occasion and we are looking to bounce back from the Euros. We want to start the campaign with a win."

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