When Daniel Sturridge was sidelined for months on end with injury concerns, he was bombarded with criticism about his desire to play for Liverpool.
Liverpool fans were not told the true extent of his injuries and some believed the striker was deliberately sitting out of matches, happy picking up his wages each week.
However, Sturridge has now returned to first-team action and doesn’t appear to be suffering from any reoccurring injuries.
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The 26-year-old was given the opportunity to respond to these taunts when he was put in front of the media ahead of the Red’s Europa League clash against Augsburg.
"I don't listen to social media,” Sturridge admitted.
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"To say a player doesn't want to play is the biggest disrespect you can say to any footballer.
"It's important to worry about the present. It's been a difficult time being injured but it's part of football.
“It’s astonishing and disappointing to hear that from whoever says it.
“People are entitled to their opinions, but I don’t think anybody understands what it means to me to play football.
“There are times when you have great periods and difficult periods. In every walk of life. A lot of people talk. I don’t listen. I worry about what I can do.
"I am blessed by God and I have no stresses. I have come a long way from Birmingham. I am good.
"When I am not playing I am devastated. I'm not just at home or out with my friends chilling. All I want to do is play football.”
As well as the abuse Sturridge received whilst ruled out, he was also subject to transfer rumours linking him with a move away from Anfield. Many believed he was unhappy with the treatment he received from new manager Jurgen Klopp after he was appointed manager in October.
However Sturridge rubbished the rumours that he’s unsettled at the club, insisting he sees his future at Anfield.
"I am looking forward to the future at Liverpool. I am happy here,” he said.
Sturridge has had an injury-plagued two seasons at Anfield, making just 26 appearances despite not picking up what you’d consider as a ‘serious’ injury, with muscular problems being the main root of his issues.
The former Chelsea, Manchester City and Bolton player will be hoping he can return to the form which saw his build an incredible partnership with Luis Suarez at Anfield. During the 2013/14 season, Sturridge scored 24 goals in 33 appearances as the club came extremely close to ending their long wait for a league title.
He will also be aiming to maintain his fitness ahead of this summer's European Championships in France.
Liverpool fans: Should your club keep hold of Daniel Sturridge? Let us know in the comments box below!
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