Jurgen Klopp has paid a glowing tribute to wantaway Liverpool forward Daniel Sturridge by describing the striker as a ‘modern-day great’ at Anfield after the club announced that he is on his way out from the Reds.
The 29-year-old forward current deal set to expire in June and Liverpool have decided against handing him a contract extension.
Klopp’s predecessor Brendan Rodgers has secure the services of Sturridge from direct Premier League rivals Chelsea in January 2013 and he struck up an excellent partnership with Luis Suarez as the pair dominated the League and were on the verge to claim the title.
A series of injury problems hampered the progress of Sturridge, though, and he has rarely been a regular under Jurgen Klopp with Roberto Firmino preferred.
England international forward also spent the second half of the 2017-18 season on loan at West Brom but most of that time he has been injured.
Nevertheless, Klopp hailed Daniel Sturridge’s finishing prowess and leadership qualities as he bid farewell to the English attacker just three days after winning the UEFA Champions League title.
‘Daniel has earned the right to be considered a modern-day Liverpool great, I would think,’ Klopp told Liverpool’s website. ‘He came to the club while we were trying to rebuild and re-establish ourselves. Some of the goals he has scored for Liverpool were so, so, so important.
‘He is one of the best finishers I have ever seen in my life. He scores goals you think could and should not be possible.
‘Again, like many players in my squad, Daniel has had to be patient and contribute when asked during games, but even this season he has played a vital role.
‘What maybe is missed on the outside of the club by many is what a great leader Daniel is in our dressing room. He is smart, confident and not afraid to speak up when he thinks there is something that needs adapting to help the team.
‘He has been great with many of the younger players also, so he has been so important to our progression here.’
Sturridge has played 160 games for Liverpool, founding back of the net 67 times in total. This campaign, he has scored four times in 27 games, the last of which came against Chelsea in September.