Friday Kickoff: Sturridge set for knee scan; Van Gaal critiques EPL winter schedule; and more

Friday Kickoff: Sturridge set for knee scan; Van Gaal critiques EPL winter schedule; and more

European Soccer

Friday Kickoff: Sturridge set for knee scan; Van Gaal critiques EPL winter schedule; and more

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Daniel-Sturridge-Liverpool-Training-Getty-Images

Jurgen Klopp’s era in charge of Liverpool is not off to the best of starts.

While Liverpool has only played twice, earning a 0-0 tie against Tottenham in the English Premier League and a 1-1 tie against Rubin Kazan in the UEFA Europa League, the worst news of the week is that star forward Daniel Sturridge may still be unavailable for Klopp’s selection Sunday against Southampton.

Another scan on Sturridge’s knee is scheduled for Friday afternoon.

“I spoke a few minutes ago with (Sturridge), it’s not much better at this moment,” Klopp told reporters at press conference Friday. “With Daniel’s injury we have to see day by day. If he can train tomorrow – if – completely normal, then he’s an option. Because the break is not so long now then not maybe as a starter but he’s an option (for the squad). Today we have another treatment, another scan, because there’s a little bit of fluid in the knee.

“We have to see but it’s day by day.”

Sturridge has been suffering from a knee injury that has kept him out of Liverpool’s previous two matches, but if the 26-year-old English international is unavailable, Christian Benteke, Divock Origi and Roberto Firmino are both ready to fill in up front for the Reds.

Here are some more news and notes:

VAN GAAL CRITICIZES LACK OF WINTER BREAK IN EPL

While many of the top leagues across Europe will have the winter off to mull over fall performances, England will continue to play on, and one coach is not too happy about that.

Manchester United head coach Louis Van Gaal told reporters that the English Premier League is the most competitive because many teams have a high level. However, the rigor to complete a full season against high level competition with no winter break ultimately hurts England’s league and the national team, Van Gaal says.

“There is no winter break and I think that is the most evil thing of this culture. It is not good for English football,” the Dutch manager said. “It is not good for the clubs or the national team. England haven’t won anything for how many years? Because all the players are exhausted at the end of the season.”

CHAMPAGNE SUBMITS BID TO RUN FOR FIFA PRESIDENCY

Former FIFA executive Jerome Champagne may have pulled out of running before of the FIFA presidential election in May, but he is not giving up on the position just yet.

Champagne officially submitted his bid to become the next FIFA president Friday. The election will take place on Feb. 26 after FIFA decided to keep the date amid the suspensions of Sepp Blatter, Jerome Valcke and Michel Platini. While he may not have received as much backing to replace Blatter in May’s election, he’s hoping that voters realize a change is needed to help steer soccer’s world governing body out of the the scandal that has engulfed it.

”The difference is all that has happened since May 27,” he told The Associated Press on Friday. ”(Voters) want someone who knows how FIFA functions – for the good and for the bad. It’s a unique opportunity to restore FIFA and to continue what has been done correctly in 111 years.”

Despite currently facing a suspension, Platini is also in the running to become the next FIFA president, while Prince Ali bin al-Hussein and former Trinidad and Tobago player David Nakhid have also officially submitted their bids.

QUICK KICKS:

Arsenal head coach Arsene Wenger said English international Theo Walcott is his first-choice forward ahead of Oliver Giroud. (REPORT)

After failing to qualify for Euro 2016, the Netherlands have scheduled friendlies with Wales and now England. (REPORT)

Diego Costa says he is the English Premier League’s new villain. (REPORT)

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