Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has said that he does not “want” to play striker Daniel Sturridge on the right wing, but the system his side play does not mean a position is “fixed.”
Sturridge has said he prefers to play up front rather than in a position he is unaccustomed to, having made his two appearances this season on the right-hand side of a forward three.
The England international looked off the pace away at Burnley last weekend and Divock Origi started up top in the EFL Cup second-round win against Burton Albion on Tuesday night.
However, Sturridge did come off the bench to score a well-taken brace at the Pirelli Stadium.
“I don’t want to play Daniel as a wide player,” Klopp told a news conference at Melwood on Monday morning to preview Saturday’s trip to Tottenham Hotspur. “Of course he can start there, of course he can play there, but in the decisive moments, he needs to be involved in all the finishing situations.
“Both goals [against Burton] he scored from inside the box, so he was not on the wing in this moment. That’s flexible football, but you need to find a formation for players to start in.
“Burnley and Burton were games where we actually didn’t need an offensive winger, that job should be filled by the full-backs. The players really skilled in finishing situations, you have them in and around the box. It’s how football works — you don’t stay and wait until you get the ball and especially not in Daniel’s case. There’s absolutely no problem with that.
“Like I said, we still have to work on a lot of things. I don’t know exactly what he said, but how I know him and when we have talked, there’s no issue about this. It’s about asking a question, getting an answer and making a big deal of it, or not thinking of it at all.”
The Liverpool manager said the playing style of his team allows for plenty of movement and interchanging between the forward line.
“We don’t have this fixed position,” Klopp said. “Like I said, it’s not that you play there and wait for something to happen. It’s flexible football, passing movements, patterns, and all these things. And you need enough players in the box to then finish this off. When Daniel, for example, plays as the No. 9., in the centre, and just stays there — that makes no sense. You have to change positions.
“Daniel is a very smart player at hiding himself in positions where it’s hard to defend and that’s very often on the wing. When he’s not involved anymore in defending, you need a smart striker that takes the centre-back out of the protection position for the opposition into a place where he doesn’t feel comfortable.
“It’s only a starting position for the next offensive action of my team. It’s simple football.”