Sturridge, Origi and Coutinho return for Liverpool gives Klopp options
Jurgen Klopp believes the return of Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi and Philippe Coutinho will prove crucial over the final months of the season, but is wary about relying on them too much as they build up their fitness.
The trio returned in Tuesday's 2-1 FA Cup defeat at West Ham after missing January -- and in Sturridge's case most of the last two seasons.
Sturridge and Origi came off the bench, playing into extra time, while Coutinho started at Upton Park.
Now the manager must balance their readiness to play at Aston Villa on Sunday with his need for goals -- but for the first time since taking charge in October he has options up front.
"We need to think about how long he [Sturridge] can manage but he made a big step in the last week," Klopp said. "I've made no final decisions about lineup but until now, everything is like it should be.
"Having [Coutinho and Origi] back is very important but we have to manage their minutes. If you look closely, a few players have played lot of games, maybe too much, and if you were injured you don't come back in the best shape of your career.
"Phil played a little less, 55 minutes, he had the normal sessions with the team yesterday. All of them are in a good way and for us it's great news."
Klopp went on to hail the quality of Coutinho after his clever free kick under West Ham's jumping wall brought the equaliser in Tuesday's 2-1 defeat to the Hammers.
"It was one of the smartest free kicks in football history, it was really cool," Klopp said. "When Phil is in good shape I don't know many teams where he would not play.
"He's had two injuries in the season and has to come back in his rhythm, and we will try to help him on is way.
"Phil is always someone who can make a difference in a game. But he's not alone, and it's not about quality, but physical qualities. It's not possible he's at 100 percent but he's in a really good way and that's good news.
"Bring all these ex-injured players together, and our rested players, and then say 'OK, now how will people defend this?' It's the first time I had this.
"Before, everyone who walked, played. Who could stand up in the morning? Now we have the situation where we hopefully have to make some decisions."
The return of Origi and Sturridge, together with Roberto Firmino and Christian Benteke, gave Liverpool options up front, said Klopp. He added, though, that it had not changed his need to find a style and formation that did not depend on individuals being fit.
"A few weeks ago we had no striker, now we have four strikers," Klopp said. "That's not how it works -- it isn't about satisfying single players -- we have to find a stable formation so we always create chances."
Tom is ESPN FC's Liverpool correspondent. Follow him @writertombell.