Former Liverpool captain Phil Thompson thinks Daniel Sturridge’s future at Anfield could be in doubt if he is left out of Jurgen Klopp’s starting XI against Villarreal on Thursday night.
Sturridge, who has only made 23 appearances in all competitions this season, was an unused substitute in the Reds’ first leg defeat in Spain and will be keen to help his side into the Europa League final.
“I’m really worried for Daniel not getting any game time in the first leg and you could see his body language against Swansea was sort of resigned,” Thompson told Sky Sports.
“It’s a big night for his Liverpool career. I think if he doesn’t play then he will have a big question mark over his future and whether he will fit in here.
“You want to have you manager’s trust in you playing big games.”
Roberto Firmino was preferred to the England international in the first leg against Villarreal, while Christian Benteke was brought on late instead of Sturridge.
“I can appreciate Klopp starting Roberto Firmino, but I was shocked he didn’t come on with 20 minutes to go, when an away goal looked up for grabs.
“Benteke came on at half-time on Sunday and his body language was positive and, with Klopp shaking his hand after he scored, you wonder whether he’s ahead of Daniel in the pecking order.
“It’s very difficult for us looking in and knowing what goes on the training but that may be what is determining how and why he’s not started big games.
“For me, I would have definitely him in the starting line-up for the second leg.”
On the game itself, Thompson doesn’t think the Reds have anything to be afraid of and that Villarreal’s exuberant celebrations could motivate Klopp’s men.
“I don’t think there was anything to frighten Liverpool,” he added. “I know they have a great defensive record but that’s mainly at home.
“I think the way the celebrated the 1-0 scoreline like they were through would have been a big motivation for Liverpool and I think they will go through.”