Jurgen Klopp yet to make decision on Daniel Sturridge ahead of Liverpool v Villarreal

Daniel Sturridge returned as a second-half substitute against West Ham
Image: Jurgen Klopp says he is yet to decide on whether Daniel Sturridge will start against Villarreal in the Europa League

Jurgen Klopp refused to confirm whether Daniel Sturridge will start for Liverpool in their crucial Europa League semi-final second leg against Villarreal on Thursday.

Liverpool go into the match at Anfield needing to overturn a 1-0 first leg deficit if they are to reach their first European final since 2007. 

Sturridge failed to thank the Liverpool supporters following a dismal showing against Swansea on Sunday and his future at the club has been the subject of constant speculation throughout the season. 

The England forward has started just four of the last eight games and last week warned Klopp that he wanted to be starting matches on a regular basis.

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When asked if Sturridge would start against the La Liga side, the Liverpool manager said: "I was waiting for this question. He could be, 100 per cent, but I've made no decision yet about the line-up.

"In all these thoughts, Daniel Sturridge is absolutely involved."

Substitute Daniel Sturridge of Liverpool walks to the bench past Jurgen Klopp v Newcastle, Premier League, December 6, 2015
Image: The England forward was an unused substitute against Villarreal last Thursday

On the match itself, Klopp urged his side to be patient, but accepted that they must play with a "clear direction" to secure a turnaround in the tie. 

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An injury-time strike from Adrian Lopez at the Estadio El Madrigal last Thursday night handed Villarreal a slender advantage ahead of the return leg. 

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"It's a normal result. In Europe, you can lose away," Klopp said. "We have thought a lot about our game. We know their strength. Our skills, quality, passion, readiness together with the atmosphere at Anfield, that's what I'm looking for.

"We know we have 90-something minutes. It's not about being patient, it's about being patient with a clear direction.

"We have to know about the game, not with pressure, only with joy. It's only playing football. Football is a fair game. If we play our best then we can go to the final."

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He added: "When I think about my team, I never have a limit where it could go. I don't know how far we are. I'm not interested.

"The players have given me a lot of positive signs about their quality. We don't have to think too much. We are ready. All we did is to be perfectly prepared for a game like this tomorrow."

Villarreal's forward Adrian Lopez celebrates during the Europa League semi-final first leg between Villarreal CF and Liverpool FC on April 28, 2016
Image: Villarreal forward Adrian Lopez celebrates scoring his late winner

Klopp also confirmed midfielder Emre Can was in line to return to the squad, but said the match against Villarreal had come far too soon for captain Jordan Henderson, who could still return in time to feature for England at the European Championships this summer.

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