Liverpool enter matchday five of their Europa League campaign in buoyant mood having stuffed Manchester City last time out, though manager Jurgen Klopp still has a few selection dilemmas for the visit of Bordeaux, not least in how he handles Daniel Sturridge.
The Reds’ extremely talented, yet injury blighted centre-forward wasn’t risked at all in the 4-1 rout of City, but having come through several more days full training Sturridge will be expected to cross the white line on Thursday night.
It just remains to be seen whether this happens at the start of the match or in a cameo from the bench, an option which probably tempts Klopp most but is actually the wrong choice.
If the Reds are going to be successful this season they need Sturridge back to his best form, banging in the goals and sooner rather than later.
The problem with dipping into a game later in proceedings is that it doesn’t build the required match stamina quick enough.
Playing 90 minutes may be too risky at this stage, but getting 60 or 70 minutes under his belt will be priceless in progressing Sturridge’s latest comeback.
The stage is another bonus. The pace of Europa League football, especially against a very average Bordeaux side treading lower mid-table waters in Ligue 1, is far more genteel and less physical than the hurly burly of the Premier League.
If the worst possible scenario occurs and Sturridge breaks down again, then Klopp is still likely to be equipped with several options on the bench.
Depending how he plays it with Philippe Coutinho certain to be missing, that could easily mean Christian Benteke waiting in the wings, or even Divock Origi.
Sturridge is a 6/4 chance with Ladbrokes to hit the net any time for Liverpool against Bordeaux.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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