Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has stressed that he never considered selling striker Daniel Sturridge this summer as the England international was an important part of his plans for this season.
Sturridge's future at Anfield had been questioned at the end of another season which was plagued by injury as he made just 11 starting appearances in all competitions, as his scintillating form shown in the 2013/14 season moved further from consciousness.
Despite his level of contribution to Liverpool's on-field performances dwindling in recent seasons, Klopp insisted that his talks with Sturridge in the off-season were only focused on how they could get the best out of him, not if he needed to take his football elsewhere.
“Yes, we did [have that chat] and all was good,” Klopp said, via the Liverpool Echo.
“It was not a talk with him saying ‘when can I go?’ or ‘where can I go?’. Not that talk, but about what we planned for this season.
The 28-year-old is arguably unplayable on his day, so in an attempt to ensure he is fit more often than not, Klopp and the club's medical and sport science staff have created an individually tailored plan to get the most out the striker - as he has made only 25 league starts since the conclusion of the 2013/14 campaign.
As such Sturridge's game time has been heavily monitored and managed, which is why he was rested for the Reds League Cup clash with the Foxes on Tuesday with Saturday's return in mind.
He added: “Daniel is important, not could be, he is important.
"We decided not to take him to Leicester and that was again a kind of responsible decision.
"We would have taken him, but he would not have started. Maybe he would have had 10 minutes, 30 minutes or extra-time.
"But then we decided it was better for him to stay here and train twice because he can get better physically. Now he’s in the best moment.
“He’s always getting better because he can train all the time. We said we could take Dom Solanke, who could start, and have Ingsy [Danny Ings] on the bench.
“That was a good situation for the squad so Daniel was here with us and that was the only reason for it. We plan with Daniel," he added.