Liverpool manager JÃ¼rgen Klopp has played down any injury concerns over Daniel Sturridge after the striker was replaced in the second half of the 2-1 victory at Chelsea on Friday night (16 September).
Meanwhile, the German boss claimed that he decided to leave Roberto Firmino out of his squad due to a muscle problem, but suggesting that it is also only a minor thing and the Brazilian could be back soon.
Sturridge led the Liverpool attack, along with Philippe Coutinho and Sadio ManÃ©, as the Reds beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge thanks to Dejan Lovrens and Jordan Hendersons goals during the impressive first-half. However, the England international was replaced by Divock Origi earlier in the second part, only minutes before Diego Costa reduced the difference for the Blues.
But speaking after the game in the press conference, Klopp made it clear that the decision was only tactical and had nothing to do with any injury problem.
I couldnt see that he could sprint anymore, so thats why we had to change. We had a healthy, young striker on the bench. Thats all. The first half was really good â€“ really good â€“ from Daniel, the boss said. We need this player there in the centre who we can play with and if theres a ball behind the line sometimes, so that we can go there and can push up in the last line. I dont think there is an injury, it is only the situation.
The decision to leave in-form Firmino out of the squad was due to an injury concern though. Klopp ruled out a serious problem, but claimed that he didnt want to take any risk as Liverpool face a busy fixture ahead.
This afternoon there were really difficult decisions to make with Roberto [Firmino] â€“ a very good player and it was only a little issue, but I had to make the decision, in the end, to say it was not possible [for him to play], Klopp confirmed after the win over Chelsea. Everybody said we could take the risk, but I heard the word risk too often and so said, no, we cant take it â€“ Roberto is out.
Yet, the decision paid off as even without the Brazilian star Liverpool managed to secure all the three points at Chelsea with another impressive performance.
To leave him out and then the other players play this kind of football is nice, the boss said. We played like this last time here and we had only been together three weeks or something. We want to win football games and we cannot care where it is.