Jurgen Klopp praises Sturridge and Keita’s link-up play following Blackburn victory

Daniel Sturridge and Naby Keita were two of Liverpool's most impressive players as the Reds continued to prepare for the new season in Lancashire.

Jurgen Klopp praises Sturridge and Keita’s link-up play following Blackburn victory
Sturridge and Keita celebrate. (Photo credit: Getty Images - James Williamson - AMA)

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has praised striker Daniel Sturridge and new recruit Naby Keita, who both came on at half-time in the Reds 0-2 victory against Blackburn Rovers on Thursday night.

Goals from Sturridge and Lazar Markovic at Ewood Park were the difference between the two teams, with Liverpool fielding two entirely different sets of outfield players in each half.

Keita set up Sturridge's goal and was heavily influential in everything Liverpool did going forward on the night, while Sturridge is currently without injury concerns and looking fit, with three goals in four games since returning from a loan at West Bromwich Albion

Speaking to Liverpoolfc.com, Klopp said of Sturridge: “He has looked really good for us. He missed a chance which I think we all know 99 per cent of those situations he will score.

“He played a really good game and helped us a lot, and the link-up play, especially with Naby, was brilliant, so good game.”

Sturridge was given the captain's armband when he came on. James Milner was the man in possession of the armband in the first half as vice-captain in the absence of Jordan Henderson.

Klopp explained: “It’s completely normal, the guy who is the longest-serving for the club and most experienced [is given the armband], so that was clear.”

Embed from Getty Images

Impressive Keita

Keita was a man who has impressed in pre-season so far this summer and looks very sharp ahead of the new season.

He played as the most advanced of the midfield trio alongside Fabinho and Curtis Jones, and Klopp was as impressed as the onlooking travelling supporters.

The manager commented: In this moment he looks very natural in the position, which is good, but we have of course still to work on it, that’s how it is, but it’s all good so far.”

Klopp was also impressed with Liverpool's young players, adding: “There were a few really good performances in both halves: Nat Phillips played really well so that’s good, and Curtis [Jones] and Rafa Camacho second half. That’s how football should look.

“They need organisation and second half we were better because we didn’t lose easy balls, and we had a few of them in the first half.”

Liverpool's next pre-season game is in the USA where they face Borussia Dortmund. Manchester City and Manchester United are the other two teams the Reds will come up against on the other side of the Atlantic before they head to France for a training camp.

Mo Salah, Sadio Mané and Marko Grujic are all now back at Melwood.

They will link up with the rest of their teammates in America, as will new signing Xherdan Shaqiri