Jurgen Klopp is unsure as to whether Daniel Sturridge will be available for Liverpool against Southampton as his injury “isn’t much better”.
Sturridge is yet to play under new manager Klopp after being ruled out of the 0-0 draw with Tottenham last weekend, while the England international also missed the 1-1 draw with Rubin Kazan in midweek.
Striker Sturridge has now missed 62 games through injury for Liverpool, having suffered seven different setbacks after only joining the club in January 2013.
There were hopes that the 26-year-old could return in time for Klopp’s first home league game against Southampton on Sunday, but the German has cast further doubt on his availability.
“I spoke to him and the situation isn’t much better,” said Klopp. “With his injury, we have to see day by day. If he can train, for example, tomorrow – if – completely normal, then he is an option because his break has not been too long.
“He will have more treatment today because there is still some fluid on his knee.
“I’m not sure in this moment if we will play two strikers on Sunday but it’s an option for the future.
“All good players can play together, it depends how they work for the team,” he added.
“We have to use that when they are fit [Sturridge and Christian Benteke] and that is the moment when I have to start thinking about this because in these short times between games it is really difficult to think about the game when they can play together.
“We cannot play with two or three players offensive players who only stay up front.
“A world-class team with the best striker, for example, Barcelona can leave them because they have perfect counter-pressing and ball stealing so it’s not a bad idea.
“They (Sturridge and Benteke) can play together, that is no problem, but we have to think about how we can do it with the rest of the team.
“But if they make five goals a game we will find a way how to defend without them if they don’t want to defend but they will defend, for sure. That is not a problem.”
Klopp echoed a mantra harking back to the 1980s when Liverpool were in their pomp.
Then it was said Ian Rush and Kenny Dalglish, the most devastating front two combination in the club’s history, were the team’s first line of defence.
“Isn’t it one of the oldest things you say about football – defending begins far away (from your goal)?” said the German.
“They don’t have to run back to our box with our centre-backs, they have to close spaces so the rest can defend easier.
“They have to find the right spaces to cause the opponent the biggest problems.
“It is not the hardest job in the world; if you do it in an intelligent way it is easier for the rest to defend and win the ball.
“All strikers have to defend; Cristiano Ronaldo has to defend in his own way.”
Despite a disappointment in the Europa League after being held to a 1-1 draw against 10-man Rubin Kazan, Klopp said that he saw positive signs from his players, but that their final touch was lacking.
“I don’t think we will make the same mistakes twice. I saw lots of good things [in the 1-1 Europa League draw with Rubin Kazan]. It’s one more experience and the next game is waiting.
“I saw many things we did in training in the game. I didn’t expect we’d run through the league from the moment I got here.
“We have to decide better when to shoot or pass. We have to be better in the box.
Klopp was also asked on midfielder Jordan Rossiter, who is currently sidelined through injury after playing three games in five days for England’s Under 19s.
The Liverpool manager accused the FA of treating players like “horses”, but has since backtracked.
“I need to learn sometimes to use other words for things,” the German said. “We will have a talk in the next few days. Of course I was not happy with the situation but I could have informed them before I talked to you.
“It’s a problem and we have to talk about it.”