Ragnar Klavan: Liverpool teammate Daniel Sturridge is "an amazing player"

Ragnar Klavan: Liverpool teammate Daniel Sturridge is "an amazing player"

Liverpool defender Ragnar Klavan says that teammate and striker Daniel Sturridge is "an amazing player" and that he remains a vital member of Jürgen Klopp's first-team squad despite his lack of starts.

Charlie Malam

Ragnar Klavan hailed Liverpool teammate Daniel Sturridge's "amazing" left leg after the striker came off the bench to score his first Premier League goal of the season in the 4-1 demolition of Stoke City.

Estonian centre-back Klavan started alongside Dejan Lovren as the Reds got off on the wrong foot, going down 1-0 to the Potters inside 12 minutes as Jonathan Walters met Erik Pieters' cross with a header.

But the Reds replied before half-time courtesy of Adam Lallana's equaliser and then Roberto Firmino's fine finish, sending Jürgen Klopp's side into half-time in the lead.

After the break, Divock Origi forced a third as Stoke midfielder Giannelli Imbula put the Belgian's cross through his own net for 3-1 at Anfield.

And with 21 minutes remaining, Sturridge was introduced for Origi and made his mark inside 56 seconds - latching on to a poor back-pass from Ryan Shawcross, coolly rounding goalkeeper Lee Grant and slotting in for his first league goal for the club since April.

That helped hand Liverpool a healthy victory in their penultimate game of 2016 to return to second in the league table and Klavan waxed lyrical about Sturridge's late impact.

Defender lauds "really important" Sturridge

The summer signing hailed the England international as "an amazing player" and insisted that "the quality in his left leg is something special."

"He's always a threat to everybody and in training, it's really difficult to play against him because you never know what he's going to do," continued Klavan, who stressed that he meant so "in a good way."

He declared "that's Daniel" and insisted that he is "really important" to the squad, suggesting that even "if he comes from the bench" then he is "bringing something extra" which is "really good."

The 31-year-old defender, who joined from Augsburg in the summer, believes Liverpool responded well to the early setback of Walters' goal.

He said that they showed matuirty and togetherness to come to terms with Stoke's direct approach, with their long balls into striker Peter Crouch proving troublesome in the early stages.

Klavan said that it was "nice" to "see the whole team adapted to the game" and told Liverpoolfc.com that they didn't have "the best start" but "slowly came into the game" and "adapted to the situation Stoke offered us."

He insisted that it was "nice to see" that the Liverpool team "is really mature." 

Klavan "still getting used" to English football

On how he's adjusting to the physicality and high balls of teams such as Stoke, who also pressed high early on with Walters and Crouch up front, Klavan acknowledged that he is still taking time to adapt.

He said that Stoke "played with high pressure" and "a lot of long balls" as well as utilising "a lot of strong bodies in front."

Klavan also said that he is "still getting used to the Premier League style-of-play" which he believes is "a little bit different" than he is "used to", stating that new additions to the English top-flight "have to get used to it."