Jamie Carragher has compared injury-prone Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge to some “foreign players”.
The 26-year-old is edging closer to a first-team comeback having begun training with the rest of the squad after recovering from a hamstring injury sustained in early December.
There have been a number of false dawns for the England international only for him to suffer small setbacks in his training regime, and that has led to a growing sense of frustration among fans.
Reports on Friday suggested Sturridge was so fed up with the criticism he was considering leaving in the summer but manager Jurgen Klopp dismissed those claims.
The Reds boss had said previously, however, that Sturridge must learn to tell the difference between “serious pain and what is only pain” but Carragher said there was no chance of the striker taking any risks with his fitness.
“People do treat injuries differently. He is a brilliant player but there is no doubt he had to be 100 per cent fit to play,” the former Reds defender told talkSPORT.
“That’s not criticism of him, that is just a fact. It is not just Daniel, it happened sometimes with foreign players.
“I am not talking about them shirking but they feel if their body is not 100 per cent they are putting themselves at more risk of injury, or they are not going to perform to the level they would like to.
“That is when a player like myself or (Dietmar) Hamann (who has been particularly critical of Sturridge), more defensive players, would carry on and just do it.
“It must be frustrating for him, I understand that, but there is also frustration from Liverpool as a club and supporters because he has been injured so often.
“For a manager it is difficult but the fact it has gone on so long and he is Liverpool’s best player makes it more frustrating.
“The problem is it is not a broken leg or a cruciate knee (ligament) injury; I’ll be honest, I don’t know now what the injury is at the moment.”