By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens
Daniel Sturridge has been urged to play through the pain barrier to maximise his talent by Jamie Carragher.
The Liverpool legend has echoed the call of manager Jurgen Klopp, who hinted at his dissatisfaction with Sturridge on Friday by urging the injury-prone striker to learn how to deal with pain.
The 26-year-old had been on the verge of returning to the Liverpool team for Thursday night’s Europa League clash against Bordeaux – which they won 2-1 – but pulled out in the afternoon with a minor foot injury.
“It was interesting to see Jurgen Klopp say that Daniel needs to understand what real pain is,” wrote Carragher in his Mail Online column. “The one thing I remember most of all from being his team-mate is that he had to feel 100 per cent right mentally and physically in order to play.
“The thing is, with professional football, it’s not often any player will take to the field 100 per cent fit. There is always a knock or something niggling and when that is the case, you just grit your teeth and get through it.”
It is the latest in lengthy series of injuries for the striker and Klopp made it clear that the England international must learn to play through the pain barrier.
“You have to learn to understand what is serious pain and what is only pain,” said Klopp, speaking at his media briefing on Friday afternoon.
The frustration for Carragher is the potential that Sturridge has to improve the team.
“When Daniel Sturridge is fit and firing, Sergio Aguero is the only striker who is better than him in the Barclays Premier League,” he added in the Mail. “That’s how highly I rate Daniel.
“Christian Benteke’s arrival was a statement from the owners and Brendan Rodgers that they could no longer rely on Sturridge and it looks as if Harry Kane has overtaken him with England through his consistent availability and his performances.
“I’m a massive fan of Kane but a fully-fit Sturridge is better. Daniel’s problem now, though, is that he’s being remembered more for injuries than goals. And he is the only man who can change that perception.”
Klopp suggested that Sturridge, who injured his knee in a collision with Jordan Ibe on the eve of the new manager’s first game at Tottenham last month, could be involved in Liverpool’s Premier League match against Swansea on Sunday at Anfield.
The 26-year-old has played just 242 minutes across three matches this season after recovering from hip surgery which ruled him out of the final six weeks of the previous campaign.
Liverpool supporters have hardly seen Sturridge play in the last 12 months due to a succession of ailments from a torn thigh muscle to hip surgery.