Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp backs Daniel Sturridge to end goal drought
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is backing Daniel Sturridge to break his goal drought and insists the striker is not suffering from a shortage of confidence.
Sturridge has failed to score in the Premier League so far this season in four starts and last found the back of the net in the top flight in April.
The England striker started Monday's frustrating goalless draw with Manchester United and endured a difficult night before he has substituted on his 100th appearance for Liverpool midway through the second half. However, Klopp has faith in the 27-year-old and says all forwards -- even the best ones -- go through difficult periods.
"I haven't noticed it," Klopp responded when asked if Sturridge's confidence has dipped. "If we have a shooting exercise, there are still tears in your eyes when you see him and think: 'oh f------ hell, what is that? That is unbelievable!'
"But then you see the games. There are no easy one, two, three situations where he could have scored and you think: 'uh-oh, he should have scored'.
"I've been here a year, and even I have thought in some moments: 'Ball... Sturridge... Goal. Oh No!' There are moments when you think he should score and he doesn't but you have to carry on.
"It is a very important and very useful moment in his career. A big name... [Robert] Lewandowski -- there were times when he didn't score.
"Gerd Muller! There were games he didn't score. I still can't believe it. You look back on his career and he scored 600 times but there were moments when he didn't score. It is only to handle situations like this. It is not to make too big a thing about it."
Despite his lack of contributions on the scoresheet, Klopp has been pleased with how Sturridge's all-round play has helped the team in their opening matches of the campaign.
The Reds' boss pointed to an example in last month's 4-1 win over champions Leicester City, where the frontman's clever movement and unselfish build-up play set up the opening goal for Roberto Firmino.
"Daniel is hard working," Klopp continued. "He is fit, no issues physically. And now it's the same as for every other player, what he has to do is work. With Dan, we have to work on it together. He's my player, and that's my job. He didn't score until now, that's true, but what is also true is that he has had really good games for us.
"For me, the [Firmino] goal against Leicester was the goal of the season so far. Because when you have this kind of movement, and you work so hard in training on it, and it comes off.
"Especially for a striker, who in the public view isn't scoring enough, to make this run out of the box to take the two centre-halves out and open everything up, that is a sign of development.
"I'm fine with his form. My job is to help him, and all the other players, arrive in situations to score goals more often."
Klopp added: "I think in this moment of course it is not easy for Dan. Most of the time in his life, football has been easy for him because he is so skilled. And he is still so skilled.
"Everybody needs confidence, the right moments, an easy goal, whatever. But the job to do for all of us is clear.
"He cannot think about a moment like this where he has not scored in five or six games. I don't care, it's normal.
"I can't just work with players who are 100 percent in form, 100 percent in shape, everything. If I was to do that then I would be alone here! Every player struggles with this or that, little problem here or there. Daniel Sturridge is an outstanding player, there is no doubt about that."
Glenn is ESPN FC's Liverpool correspondent. You can follow him on Twitter: @GlennPrice94.