Jurgen Klopp optimistic to see fit-again Daniel Sturridge, says his return is "perfect" for Liverpool

The Reds host Southampton in their EFL Cup semi-final first leg this evening at Anfield

Jurgen Klopp, Daniel Sturridge

Image: Andrew Matthews / EMPICS Sport

Liverpool welcomed back first team regulars Daniel Sturridge and Phillipe Coutinho to training ahead of last weekend's FA Cup third round clash with Plymouth Argyle at Anfield.

The Brazilian suffered an ankle injury in November against Sunderland, while Sturridge has struggled with the latest of a string of injuries which have plagued his career.

Liverpool face into the first leg of their EFL Cup semi-final first leg against Southampton on Wednesday evening and manager Jurgen Klopp insisted that if Sturridge is physically ready to play, there was no reason why he should be out of the squad.

"If Daniel is fit are there ever any arguments here about his quality? 'No'," said Klopp. "If he stays on this fitness level and improving as he always should, that is perfect.

"It is perfect news for him and for us that he can perform. It would be cool if we could speak like this for the next few weeks and months."

Daniel Sturridge scored against Sunderland during their 2-2 draw at the Stadium of light. Image: Owen Humphreys / PA Wire/PA Images

The Reds remained undefeated over the busy Christmas period but dropped points against Sunderland and will have to manage their resources wisely in the coming weeks for fear of reintroducing players too quickly.

Sadio Mane has left the squad to represent Senegal in the African Cup of Nations which begins this coming weekend. His departure - and impact of nine goals for the club so far this season will now mean that players returning from injury will have to step up and fill the void.

"Sadio is away, Philippe is on the way back [from injury] and Daniel is already back. That helps and I hope it stays like this for him."

Klopp added that he expects other players who are continuing to return to injury and that are close to being reintroduced to the squad to be integrated to first team training on Thursday.