Jamie Carragher explains why Daniel Sturridge simply has to start against Villarreal

The defender-turned-pundit says the England man is as good a finisher as anyone in Europe this season.

Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has told the Liverpool Echo that Jurgen Klopp simply must give Daniel Sturridge the nod to start against Villarreal on Thursday night as they will need his natural finishing ability.

Klopp's side must overturn a 1-0 deficit in the second leg of their Europa League semi-final after the Spanish side struck an injury-time winner in the first match last week.

For that game, Klopp chose to start Roberto Firmino in attack instead of Sturridge, a decision which was questioned by fans and pundits alike as the Reds failed to break down the hosts.

Sturridge has seen his season truncated by injury problems but has still managed to score 11 goals in just 16 starts for the club during the campaign.

With Carragher expecting the Yellow Submarine to sit deep and look to hold their lead whilst hitting Liverpool on the break, he insists that the Reds will have desperate need of the 26-year-old's natural finishing ability, which Carragher believes rivals that of any player in Europe.

Carragher told the Liverpool Echo: "I really hope Sturridge starts on Thursday night. Not necessary in place of Firmino because I think he could play just behind. But for me Sturridge has to be in the team.

"Villarreal are a fantastic defensive side. They score goals but their success this season has been built on their defensive record. There won’t be a lot of chances. And what chances there are need to be taken.

"When it comes to finishing, Sturridge is as good as anyone playing in the Europa League or the Champions League this season. His goal-scoring record speaks for itself. On a night when chances will be at a premium you need Daniel Sturridge out there."

Liverpool are looking to reach their first European final in nine years, but after their remarkable comeback against Borussia Dortmund in the quarter-finals, Klopp's side must once again do things the hard way if they are to keep their journey alive.

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