Juergen Klopp has praised Daniel Sturridge’s impact off the bench in Liverpool’s 1-0 Premier League win at local rivals Everton on Monday after the striker’s opportunistic shot bounced off the post to set up Sadio Mane’s late winner.
Sturridge, back from a calf injury, was sent on in the 80th minute and as the match drifted into injury time, held off Leighton Baines to fire a shot through a crowd of defenders with the rebound falling into the path of the onrushing Mane.
“It’s not usual or normal that after two sessions a player can really help you, but he helped us a lot tonight in a very difficult game,” Liverpool manager Klopp told British media.
“He could make a kind of the difference in this moment. It was a real intense game and so then to bring in real fresh legs then, that’s a good thing to do.”
The German was pleased with the win that took his side up to second in the standings but upset that Everton midfielder Ross Barkley had escaped a red card after a studs up challenge on Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson.
“I saw it was a really harsh challenge. But you saw it all so I don’t really have to say anything about this,” he added. “I think Ross is lucky. And Hendo is lucky that nothing else happened.”
The win puts Liverpool six points behind leaders Chelsea ahead of a busy run of fixtures. Klopp’s team host Stoke City on Dec. 27 and third-placed Manchester City on Dec. 31, before travelling to struggling Sunderland on Jan 2. (Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by John O’Brien)