Former Liverpool star Dietmar Hamann has urged Jurgen Klopp to stop "protecting" Daniel Sturridge. Assorted injury issues have meant the 26-year-old striker has barely featured for the Reds since the German took charge at Anfield in October.
Klopp confirmed on 19 January that Sturridge had no chance of being fit to play for Liverpool in their FA Cup third round replay against Exeter City, even though he has resumed training. Hamann thinks Klopp has a duty to match-going fans to be more transparent about Sturridge's health situation.
"The club has got a responsibility to tell the paying public what is wrong with him. If he has got a hamstring injury, an ankle injury, or whatever he may have, the people who pay for a season ticket have got a right to know what is wrong with him," the ex-Liverpool midfielder told talkSPORT.
"Judging by the way Jurgen Klopp answered his questions [ahead of the Manchester United game on 17 January], I don't think there is too much wrong with the player.
"If there is nothing wrong with him, it is more important to be honest and truthful with the paying public than to protect a player who has hardly played in the last 18 months, who seems to choose when he wants to play. If there is nothing wrong with the player, why should the club protect him?"
Hamann was a teammate of Sturridge at Manchester City and remembers the striker as someone who would frequently withdraw from games at short notice. "There was always something wrong with him on the Thursday or the Friday. His back, his hamstring, there was always something," he said.
"If you look at his record since he has played professional football he probably doesn't average half the games a season – and it has got worse at Liverpool. I am not saying he is pretending to be injured, I'm not sure. But if he is injured, say it. Nobody knows what is going on with him."
The injury-prone striker has an excellent goalscoring record for Liverpool, finding the net 44 times in his 73 appearances. He also formed a lethal partnership with Luis Suarez during the 2013-14 Premier League season, when Liverpool finished second in the table.