Jurgen Klopp believes Daniel Sturridge needs to put aside any concerns he may have about his place in the side for the good of Liverpool’s season.
Klopp arrived in Spain for the crucial Champions League clash with Sevilla on the back of more speculation about the future of his England striker, who will reportedly look for a move in January in an attempt to salvage his World Cup hopes with England.
Similar noises about a lack of game time and a January move were heard 12 months ago, but Klopp shrugged them off.
“I can imagine a player with his quality is not happy that he is not starting all the time, but that’s all,” said Klopp.
“The situation with the player is completely OK. At this moment we are in November and need all our players—even if he feels a little different.
“There is around one-and-a-half months before the window opens and I don’t think about things like this. There are so many games before then and I need all of them.”
As Klopp was in Spain it was no surprise to hear the local media ask about the continued speculation linking Barcelona with another move for Philippe Coutinho, who handed in a transfer request when he learned of their interest in August only for three bids from the Catalans to be rejected out of hand.
Klopp, however, brushed it aside, saying: “He is 100 percent Liverpool.”
With qualification for the knockout stage up for grabs in Spain, the Reds boss would like to exact some payback for their 2016 Europa League final defeat by beating Sevilla on their own turf.
The 3-1 reverse in Basel 18 months ago still hurts, especially having led 1-0 at half-time, and, having failed to deliver a decisive blow in September at Anfield, Klopp hopes a victory will finally provide some compensation.
Klopp has visited the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan twice before with Mainz and Borussia Dortmund and left with two draws (0-0 and 2-2), but would dearly love to silence the vociferous home crowd.
But he knows he will need a “mature” performance from his side.
“Without that you have no chance,” he said. “[Sevilla] have all the things you need, experienced strikers, quick strikers, ready for channelled balls, midfielders, [Steven] N’Zonzi, [Ever] Banega, [Jesus] Navas quick in behind. Different things they have.
“When you prepare for a game like this you think, ‘Oh my god, they are really good’. It is more interesting to face them.
“This is a tough place to come. What we did in the last month result-wise has given us confidence coming here, but that does not mean we win it.
“Our new maturity we will have to show it 100 percent in this atmosphere. We do not need to run in only one direction and win in the first second.
“We have to show how the last games were against a quality opponent.”