Jurgen Klopp fires warning to Daniel Sturridge as Liverpool striker attempts to seize Anfield lifeline

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Jurgen Klopp has told Daniel Sturridge to keep himself free from injury if he wants to cement a regular place in the Liverpool starting lineup.

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The England international has slipped behind the likes of Divock Origi and summer signing Sadio Mane in the Anfield pecking-order as the second-place Reds aim to mount a sustained title charge in the final half of the season, but could get his chance in the coming weeks.

Arsenal's Calum Chambers (left) and Liverpool's Sadio Mane battle for the ball during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday August 14, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Arsenal. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.

A busy run of fixtures for Klopp’s men sees them face Southampton twice in the EFL Cup semi-final, north-west rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford in the league and Plymouth away in an FA Cup replay.

And with the games coming thick and fast, forgotten man Sturridge is likely to get his chance to impress the German, particularly given the absence of first-choice Mane due to the African Cup of Nations.

Previewing the gruelling run of season-defining games, the Liverpool manager indicated what Sturridge would need to do to make himself a first-choice pick again on Merseyside.

“Sadio is away, Philippe is on the way back and Daniel is already back. That helps, for sure, and I hope it stays like this for him.

“I think it depends. Listen, we have spoken a lot of times about this. Does he stay fit? If Daniel is fit are there any arguments here ever about his quality? No.

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“We had the time when he was already fit and he didn’t start because there was a difference between being fit and match fit and all that stuff.

“But it is a big step in the right direction. If he stays on this fitness level and improving as he always should, that is perfect – perfect news for him and for us that he can perform.

“It would be cool if we could speak like this for the next few weeks and months.”

Former Chelsea forward Sturridge could be in line to start at St Mary’s tonight in the EFL Cup first-leg, where he will be looking to add to his total of four goals in the competition to date.

West Ham and Stoke City have been linked with a move for the striker should he seek a transfer during the summer.

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