Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp does not believe Daniel Sturridge has lost a yard of pace, but says the striker may be doubting his body after numerous injuries.
Sturridge, 27, struggled during Wednesday night’s EFL Cup semifinal defeat to Southampton and has only scored two Premier League goals this season — making just nine starts in all competitions.
Sky Sports recently published statistics that show the England international’s top speed has decreased in each season since the 2012-13 campaign, losing almost four kilometres-per-hour in total over four years.
Sturridge’s career at Anfield has been blighted by lengthy spells on the sidelines since he made the switch from Chelsea in January 2013.
“Of course, longer injuries and more injuries means you lose not speed, but the 100 percent trust in your body for sprinting,” Klopp told a news conference at Melwood on Friday.
“Ask a sprinter, it’s high intensity and if you have a few injuries, everything takes a little bit of time afterwards, but it’s not lost forever. Daniel’s in the best age for a football player and so if he can stay fit, everything will be fine.”
Sturridge missed two good chances during the midweek loss to Claude Puel’s Southampton side, who will now face Manchester United in the EFL Cup final at Wembley.
However, Klopp insists he was not concerned with the performance of the Liverpool striker on the night.
“I thought the Southampton game, from the physical side, was a really good game from Daniel Sturridge,” Klopp added. “He was really involved from the first second to the last. There was not a big difference between the first half and the second half and all that stuff.
“Usually, and it’s not about speed or anything, Daniel Sturridge scores twice in this game with the chances that he had. But he’s a human being and he missed chances — that’s all.”