Jurgen Klopp has suggested Daniel Sturridge must learn the difference between pain and real pain if he is to overcome his ongoing fitness issues.
The 26-year-old is still yet to play under Klopp after suffering a knee injury earlier this season. He appeared to be in line to play in Thursday night's Europa League tie against Bordeaux after returning to training. Then the inevitable happened.
Klopp confirmed Sturridge had suffered a setback during a full training session, but failed to speculate on how serious it was because he simply did not know. He later sypathised with reporters, saying that he understood why they were anxious for a firmer update.
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“We have to accept the situation, he’s often been injured in the last few months, maybe year,” he told the Telegraph.
"I understand why everyone is waiting. If it wasn’t someone with the quality of Daniel no-one would think about it."
'Serious pain or only pain'
But is is now believed that Sturridge pulled himself out at the 11th hour with a complaint in his foot. He was sent for a scan, but Klopp revealed that the England international will be ready to train again immediately, albeit on a lighter schedule.
"You have to learn what is serious pain or only pain – but of course everyone wants him back on the pitch.”
“The training for him was intensive, as it should be,” said Klopp. “We had to make an assessment and now we can say it’s not that serious but he still can’t train as before.
"That’s completely normal after a long injury. When you think last year he had the surgery, had a really long period out, and has played only three games, and now we have to stay patient I am sorry to say. That’s the situation.”
Frustration for everyone
Sturridge is understandably cautious after attempting to come back too early in the recent past, only to suffer setbacks. His focus must be on getting fully fit before returning to first-team action, but Klopp's comments suggest a touch of frustration is creeping in from the former Borussia Dortmund manager.
Klopp demands 100% effort from all of his players and it appears the German may have seen Sturridge's latest complaint as a hint that he may not be able to cut it. One thing is for sure, the striker will get every chance to win him over.