Daniel Sturridge must adapt to new way of life at Liverpool
Striker was not happy to be overlooked as a substitute during Spurs clash, but has now laughed it off
One of the abiding memories of the weekend's Premier League action is the look of disgust on the face of Liverpool substitute Daniel Sturridge when he realised he had been passed over in favour of Divock Origi during the game against Tottenham Hotspur.
Jurgen Klopp fielded a starting XI without a traditional centre-forward and chose to introduce the striker with 20 minutes left on the clock. The apparent snub came after Sturridge last week expressed his frustration at being expected to play in a wide position, to which the manager said he had to learn to be more "flexible" in his positioning.
The latest incident has led to speculation that Sturridge's relationship with Klopp is at breaking point, prompting much amusement on social media.
"For Liverpool fans, of course, this is less a cause for humour than for puzzlement," says Jonathan Liew of the Daily Telegraph. "Was their star striker displaying a fleeting and forgivable disappointment, or some graver discontent? Is he merely in a grump, or in the awakenings of an open revolt? Is the Mona Lisa scowling or not?"
Sturridge did eventually come in the 88th minute, but could not make an impression and the game ended 1-1 thanks to a goal from Danny Rose, scored seconds after Origi entered the fray.
Had Liverpool won, "they might have been able to shrug off the ongoing Sturridge row as so much background noise", says Liew. "Instead... Liverpool spent 18 minutes striving for the winning goal they deserved, and their most potent goal threat spent 16 of them in a bib."
However, says Liew, there would only be one winner in a fight between the hugely popular Klopp and a striker who is gifted but has failed to win over the Anfield faithful.
"Sturridge is the best finisher at Liverpool but he must accept that is not enough to earn a regular start," says Paul Doyle of The Guardian. "A forward who springs into action only when his own team have the ball is a passenger Klopp is not prepared to carry, at least not away to top opposition."
Klopp says he has not given up on Sturridge, but the striker "has often been injured and/or seemed unhappy at Liverpool despite scoring prolifically when on the pitch".
However, Sturridge responded to the weekend's talking point by posting a picture of his moment of disgruntlement on Instagram with the message: "Caption this."
It shows the player "isn't taking things too seriously", says the Daily Mirror, and that fits in with Klopp's happy-go-lucky approach, which could mean there is a future for Sturridge at Anfield after all.
Klopp tells Sturridge to be 'flexible' ahead of Spurs clash
Liverpool take on Tottenham Hotspur this weekend in a game that they cannot afford to lose after the shock defeat to Burnley last week.
The Reds, who are hoping to push for the title in Jurgen Klopp's first full season in charge, beat Arsenal on the opening day of the season and return to London for what will be their third away game in a row - scheduled so building work an Anfield can be completed.
The lunchtime kick off could be a belter, as both teams have dropped points already this season and will not want to fall too far behind the league's early pace-setters, Hull, Manchester United and Manchester City.
And with Reds striker Divock Origi expected to miss out, all eyes will be on Daniel Sturridge (pictured) after he declared himself unhappy at being asked to play on the right of attack against Burnley and Burton Albion in the past week.
"The simmering tension Sturridge clearly feels about his situation at Anfield was evident after he came off the bench to score twice in a 5-0 League Cup win at Burton on Tuesday," says the Daily Mirror.
The England striker said he was prepared to "do a job for the team" on the wing, but added: "That's not saying I am happy to do it."
However, manager Jurgen Klopp has dismissed talk of a rift and has said he does not expect Sturridge to play as a wideman. But he also urged the player to be more "flexible" and emulate Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.
The manager "laughed off suggestions of tension between him and his star striker, saying that in modern football, no attacking player has a set position, "as Real Madrid's Portuguese superstar Ronaldo proves", says the Mirror.
It is an opinion that reflects Klopp's philosophy, says The Times. "While Sturridge has openly declared his preference for a more central position in attack, Klopp believes that the modern game requires players to be more willing to adapt to different roles to bring more fluidity and unpredictability to the team."
The Liverpool boss said it "makes no sense" for a player to stay in one area throughout the game, "you have to change positions".
"Daniel is a very smart player at hiding himself in positions where it's hard to defend and that's very often on the wing," said Klopp. "When he's not involved any more in defending, you need a smart striker that takes the centre-back out of the protection position for the opposition into a place where he doesn't feel comfortable.
"It's only a starting position for the next offensive action of my team. It's simple football."