'Brilliant' Daniel Sturridge hailed by Jurgen Klopp after Liverpool win
BOURNEMOUTH, England -- Jurgen Klopp hailed striker Daniel Sturridge after a match-winning display in Liverpool's 2-1 win at Bournemouth.
Sturridge scored Liverpool's second goal in first-half injury time, and his skilful backheel led to Roberto Firmino opening the scoring in the 41st minute. Liverpool saw out the match with relative ease, despite a late goal from Joshua King and a starting lineup that made 10 changes from Thursday's 4-3 Europa League defeat of Borussia Dortmund.
"He was very good," said Klopp of Sturridge, making his fourth Premier League start in a row. "He's a brilliant player. In the decisive moments, he was involved. He's in really good shape both mental-wise and physically. That's really good for us."
Liverpool's manager has previously said that the England striker was not guaranteed a start, with Divock Origi getting the nod against Dortmund and repeated that sentiment.
"Nobody is undroppable," he said. "As the manager I decide if we play with one, two, three or four strikers."
Klopp explained a selection that gave Premier League starting debuts to goalkeeper Danny Ward and full-backs Brad Smith and Connor Randall.
"With the same lineup we had last Thursday, we had absolutely no chance," he said. "And I am really, really pleased for the boys, for all of them, how they played, because they were really brilliant.
"I am responsible for this lineup," Klopp continued. "I told the boys 'you can play football and if it doesn't work they can blame me and not you, so really try to enjoy the game' and that's what they did. The most exciting thing is to give the boys the opportunities."
Klopp denied that the Europa League, where Liverpool begin a two-legged semifinal with Villarreal next week, is now top priority.
"Sometimes rotation is for resting players for another tournament, but in our case we only rotate because the most important tournament is still and always will be the Premier League and we wanted to win this game. We have two more Premier League games until the next Europa game and so we don't think about the Europa League until then."