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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 17 November 2018

Liverpool manager Klopp set to hand first-team role to 'very decisive' Sturridge

England striker has struggled with injuries in recent seasons but has looked sharp in pre-season

Daniel Sturridge has been impressive in pre-season for Liverpool. Reuters
Daniel Sturridge has been impressive in pre-season for Liverpool. Reuters

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has given Daniel Sturridge assurances over his future at the Premier League club, insisting the England striker can be a "very decisive player".

Sturridge, 28, has struggled with a succession of injuries in recent seasons and was sent on loan to West Bromwich Albion in January. However, that stint was again disrupted by injuries and he managed just six appearances.

With 12 months left on his contract, it appeared Sturridge's Anfield career was over but he has looked sharp in his five friendly games and Klopp, who became frustrated by the player's unavailability last season, is prepared to hand him a lifeline.

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"We're not in doubt - and nobody was ever in doubt - about his quality," the Liverpool manager told liverpoolfc.com.

"In this moment he looks really good to be honest. That's cool -- really cool for him and cool for us. [It's] a very important moment for him. I am in talks with him, what he feels.

"I don't want to make him the most physically strong player in the squad or whatever.

"The most physically strong player in the squad cannot play football like Daniel Sturridge and he has no possibility to be that, to be the marathon man of the team, but he can be a very decisive player."

Sturridge could be in line to start the Premier League campaign at home to West Ham United on August 12, with Roberto Firmino and new goalkeeper and fellow Brazil international Alisson only rejoining the squad at next week's training camp in France.

Liverpool are currently taking part in the International Champions Cup in the United States.