15 Nov 2016

Barnes claims: Klopp will replace 'Firmino' with 'exceptional' £30m attacker as Liverpool's main 'no 9'

Liverpool legend John Barnes insists that one of Liverpool's fringe players still has a long-term future at Anfield.

Daniel Sturridge is one again being linked with a move away from Anfield, but according to Barnes, Liverpool 'will not let him go', and a January transfer 'will not happen'. Barnes further claimed:

"I think in the long term Sturridge will be the No.9 for Liverpool. I don't think Firmino will be the No.9 long term".

I'd love to believe this, but I can't see it happening. Sturridge is an 'exceptional' (and proven) goalscorer, but it's clear that Klopp hasn't got the same faith in him as he has in Lallana, Firmino et al.

It doesn't matter what Sturridge does - unless he runs/presses as much as Firmino, Klopp will keep him on the fringes of the first-team, irrespective of ability or goal-threat. Forget Sturridge's injury history; this is just a lame excuse wheeled out by fans to justify Klopp's marginalisation of LFC's more effective goalscorer.

Sturridge *had* a problem with injuries...in the past. That's no longer the case, and whilst Klopp deserves credit for managing Sturridge's fitness, he refuses to allow the the £30m-rated striker to play his natural game, and will not be happy unless he runs himself into the ground in every game (which will, ironically, probably lead to further injury).

At center-forward, I'd take a fully-fit Sturridge over Firmino every day of the week. I couldn't care less if Firmino runs and presses more - given the same amount of game time, and the same level of faith from the manager (this is vital), Sturridge will score more goals, and his goal history proves that.

No player can prosper if he feels that the manager doesn't rate him; continually drops him, and/or is just waiting for any excuse to yank him out of the team (Just ask Benteke). Subject Firmino and Lallana to the same conditions and see how they perform.

The most ridiculous thing is that Sturridge is averaging a goal/assist every 80 minutes this season, and that's despite constantly being subbed/on the bench. Imagine what Sturridge could achieve if Klopp showed the same faith in him as he does in his favourites (i.e. Lallana, Can, Firmino etc).


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