Michael Owen has called on Liverpool to be more transparent about Daniel Sturridge's injury woes. The 26-year-old striker has only just returned to the first-team picture, having been sidelined by injury since December, and Owen thinks the club ought to open up about the issue.
Owen said the Anfield club risk subjecting their star player to potentially "unfair criticism" about his injury troubles.
"I wish we knew a bit more," the former Liverpool star explained to BT Sport. "We all get texts on our phones saying Sturridge has done this or that, but it is all people guessing. I find it hard to have a view until we find out what's wrong. The club have not really said. Until we know exactly what problems he has had or has got, it is fuelling a lot of rumours.
"People are saying things that are potentially unfair. I have been injured before and if he is getting muscle injuries, then I have every sympathy because they are debilitating. You cannot play on with muscle injuries, they just tear, tear and tear until they erupt. It is the worst thing ever.
"However, if he has joint pain – an ankle, a knee and a hip – it can be manageable. It is all about pain thresholds. We have not really been given the information so I do wince a little bit when I see people having a real go."
Owen said the Liverpool striker will need to remain fit between now and the end of the campaign in order to force his way into England manager Roy Hodgson's plans for the European Championships in France.
"He is running out of time and with a dozen games left, if he got injured between now and the end of the season, you would have to say it is not going to happen," he said. "If he gets fit, he could be the fly in the ointment in terms of Rooney, Vardy and Kane. He has a lot of class and would shoot right back into the reckoning."