Dietmar Hamann has urged Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp to front up over striker Daniel Sturridge's injury problems, suggesting the striker picks and chooses when he wants to play.
The England international has endured another injury-hit campaign under Brendan Rodgers and current Liverpool boss Klopp - making just six appearances due to hamstring, ankle and knee complaints.
Sturridge has managed four goals despite his constant fitness troubles and was a key part of Liverpool's Premier League title challenge in 2013-14.
However, former midfielder Hamann feels Klopp must stop protecting the striker and be honest with fans over Sturridge's injuries.
"The club has got a responsibility to tell the paying public what is wrong with him," Hamann told talkSPORT. "If he has got a hamstring injury, an ankle injury, or whatever he may have, the people who pay for a season ticket have got a right to know what is wrong with him.
"Judging by the way Jurgen Klopp answered his questions [ahead of Sunday's Manchester United defeat], I don't think there is too much wrong with the player.
"If there is nothing wrong with him, it is more important to be honest and truthful with the paying public than to protect a player who has hardly played in the last 18 months, who seems to choose when he wants to play.
"He has got three years left on his contract and I don't see any reason, if there is nothing wrong with the player, why the club should protect him."
Hamann was a former team-mate of Sturridge at Manchester City, where the striker progressed through the youth set-up before struggling to establish himself in the first team.
"There was always something wrong with him on the Thursday or the Friday," Hamann added.
"His back, his hamstring, there was always something. If you look at his record since he has played professional football he probably doesn't average half the games a season - and it has got worse at Liverpool.
"I am not saying he is pretending to be injured, I'm not sure. But if he is injured, say it. Nobody knows what is going on with him.
"People have spent £800 or £1000 to watch Liverpool at home and sometimes even away, and the star player is not playing and nobody knows where he is. If there isn't a problem with him, then it is time to stop protecting the player."
Get the best features, fun and footballing frolics straight to your inbox every week.
Thank you for signing up to Four Four Two. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.