Michael Owen exclusive - Liverpool need to be honest about Sturridge
Former Liverpool striker Michael Owen has told sundayworld.com that the Anfield club should be more open about the details of Daniel Sturridge’s injury woes, after suggesting the much-maligned striker may struggle to win over his critics after another season of fitness woes.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp fuelled the suspicion that Sturridge is reluctant to push himself to return from the treatment room after suggesting the England forward ‘needs to learn the difference between serious pain and only pain’ in a comment that attracted widespread media attention.
That sparked suggestions that Sturridge may be unsettled at Liverpool and after he made his latest comeback in the FA Cup defeat at West Ham on Tuesday night, Owen suggests clarity needs to be shed the fitness concerns of the club’s highest earning player.
Owen suffered with a series of injuries in the latter stages of his career and is in perfect position to cast judgement on Sturridge as he battles to retain the faith of the Liverpool fans.
“I have listened to the criticism flowing his way with great interest, as I guess his story has echoes of my own career in some ways,” BT Sport pundit Owen told sundayworld.com
“Let me tell you, there is nothing worse for a footballer than being injured, especially if the injuries continue to come over an extended period. You are desperate to play, that’s all you want to do.
"I’m sure Daniel is the same, even if there is some rumours that you hear about him not pushing himself to come back as quickly as he should.
“Of all people, I appreciate entirely how he feels to be out of the team and reading stories suggesting he is lacking a desire to come back or he doesn’t want to play through the pain barrier.
“From my perspective, I would suggest we need a little more information before we pass judgement and that is where Liverpool may be culpable for not being entirely honest about the situation.
“If he has muscle problems, then I would suggest there is nothing Sturridge or Liverpool can do to resolve these problems.
"You cannot play on a muscle strain because it will get worse and worse until you rupture the muscle and then you are out for a long, long time. In that situation, it has nothing to do with playing through the pain barrier. You just can’t play, it’s as simple as that.
“On the other hand, if he has niggling injury concerns and he is cautious about playing – as has been suggested by many people in the last year and more – it is a little more concerning. Maybe then you could say the negative rumours around Sturridge have been justified.”
Owen believes the quality Sturridge offers when he is on the field means he is worth persisting with for boss Klopp, even though he has started just 10 Premier League games in the last two seasons.
“You hear people say enough is enough, Liverpool should get rid of him, but we should not forget what a fantastic player he can be when he is fully fit,” he added.
"It’s not long ago that Luis Suarez, Raheem Sterling and Sturridge were tearing teams apart and pushing Liverpool to the brink of the Premier League title
“If they could get that player back, he would be a world class addition to a squad that needs all the help it can get.”
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