Thompson says Sturridge was smothered against Manchester United, suggests he should not be in Liverpool team

Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge warms up before the match

Sturridge was ineffective in the goalless draw with United on Monday night.

Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge warms up before the match

Liverpool legend Phil Thompson has told Sky Sports that Daniel Sturridge's ineffectual display against Manchester United on Monday night was because of the system the Reds played, but has suggested that the striker should not be in the starting XI when every player is available.

Sturridge was largely anonymous at Anfield as the rivals played out a dour 0-0 draw on Monday night.

Much of the reasoning for that can be put down to Jose Mourinho's defensive approach to the game, though Liverpool also lacked the creative spark that has been evident on many occasions already this season.

Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge with manager Juergen Klopp as he is substituted

Thompson chose to highlight the system selected by Jurgen Klopp rather than Mourinho, and argued that Sturridge was left desperately isolated in attack.

The 62-year-old told Sky Sports: "I thought it was extremely difficult for him to function. I thought he was smothered. In a 4-2-3-1, he was isolated up front and it was very difficult to get into the game, with Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly doing a very good number on him.

"It was without a doubt more due to the system than the player. With United defending so deep made it difficult to get into the game. There was nowhere for Daniel to run when they defended so deep. He'll be disappointed because he was taken off so early but it did change things when Lallana came on."

Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge in action with Manchester United's Eric Bailly

However, the former defender does not believe that all of the blame can be placed on the formation, and suggested that when Klopp has a full complement of players at his disposal, Sturridge should not be named in the starting XI.

He added: "When everybody is fit, I think the team looks better without Sturridge at the moment. I think Daniel needs to find a level of consistency in the side to be prove himself as the number one striker again. He's flickered in and out for the side, not being a regular."

Monday's stalemate was only the third of Liverpool's eight Premier League fixtures so far this season that they have failed to win, and leaves them fourth in the table, two points off the top spot.

The Reds are next in action on Saturday evening, when they host West Bromwich Albion.

Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge comes on as manager Juergen Klopp looks on

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