Liverpool

Liverpool vs. Augsburg: Jurgen Klopp and Daniel Sturridge's Key Presser Comments

Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp speaks with Liverpool's English striker Daniel Sturridge (L) during the English FA Cup fourth round replay football match between West Ham United and Liverpool at The Boleyn Ground in Upton Park, east London, on February 9, 2016. / AFP / GLYN KIRK / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized 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.  /         (Photo credit should read GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)
GLYN KIRK/Getty Images
Rory MarsdenFeatured ColumnistFebruary 24, 2016

Daniel Sturridge rejected rumours he is set to leave Liverpool at the end of the season ahead of the Reds' UEFA Europa League last-32 second leg against Augsburg on Thursday.

The Englishman's consistent injury issues had sparked reports that he may be headed for the exit door at Anfield, per the Telegraph's Sam Wallace.

However, he has returned to manager Jurgen Klopp's starting XI for Liverpool's last two matches and insisted on Wednesday that he is looking forward to the future on Merseyside, per the Liverpool Echo's James Pearce:

He also responded to Twitter criticism of his injury issues, per Jack Wilson in the Daily Star:

I don't listen to social media. To say a player doesn't want to play is the biggest disrespect you can say to any footballer. 

It's important to worry about the present. It's been a difficult time being injured but it's part of football. 

It’s astonishing and disappointing to hear that from whoever says it. 

People are entitled to their opinions, but I don’t think anybody understands what it means to me to play football. 

There are times when you have great periods and difficult periods. In every walk of life. A lot of people talk. I don’t listen. I worry about what I can do.

Klopp welcomed Sturridge's comments and said he hoped the questions over his future could now be put to bed, per Pearce:

The 26-year-old could be key in Thursday's Anfield clash as Liverpool look to book themselves a spot in the last 16 of the Europa League.

The tie is currently level at 0-0 following last week's goalless first leg at the WWK Arena, thus Liverpool need a victory to secure qualification through to the next round.

Klopp indicated the Reds are aiming to go deep into the competition, but they will need to get past the Bundesliga side first, per the Liverpool Echo:

An improved performance on last week will be necessary if Liverpool are to advance.

Due to them not being in the FA Cup, they have not played for a week and should be fresher than Augsburg, who beat Hannover on Sunday.

However, Klopp will surely have an eye on Sunday's fixture against Manchester City at Wembley in the Capital One Cup final.

The return of Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho to fitness is a big boon for Klopp, but there are still a few of his players set to be absent for the clash with Augsburg, including centre-back Martin Skrtel, per ESPN FC's Ben Dinnery

The upcoming week's action could be crucial in deciding if Liverpool's season is a success or not, and it may even bring Klopp his first silverware as Reds manager after less than five months in charge.

A victory over Augsburg will not only keep Liverpool's Europa League hopes alive, but it will also give them a boost ahead of Sunday's final, while being knocked out by the German side could derail their campaign.

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