Jurgen Klopp has warned striker Daniel Sturridge that he must learn to play through the pain barrier if he is to revive his career under the new Liverpool regime.
Sturridge's all-too-regular absences have derailed his ambitions for club and country - he has missed too many games with injury - and Klopp believes that the 26-year-old needs to grasp the difference between "serious pain and only pain".
It follows the England striker's latest setback, an 11th-hour withdrawal from the Europa League fixture with Bordeaux on Thursday.
The manager was informed at the team hotel that Sturridge was unavailable because of a sore foot. A scan later revealed no serious injury.
"I understand why everybody is waiting but we have to accept the situation and the situation is he was very often injured in the last few months and maybe years," said Klopp.
"Usually, if it's not a player of Daniel's quality, then nobody would think about him coming back after this short space of time.
"But it's normal when you get back in training his body has to learn to adapt to the new intensity of training and in this time you have to learn what is serious pain and is only pain.
"Of course everybody wants him back on the pitch but we all have to learn - that is what the situation was (on Thursday).
"So the training for him on the pitch was intensive - how it should be - and so we have to make an assessment.
"Now we can say it's not that serious, but it's not that possible to go on as before.
"We always have to react on a situation. You think about the whole of last year, and he played only these three games this season, and last season with the surgery with the hip and all this it's a really long period.
"So now we have to stay patient. So I'm sorry for him. It's how the situation is."
Liverpool play Swansea tomorrow, with Klopp unsure if Sturridge will feature.
Klopp said: "I really don't know with Daniel. I said a few weeks ago that, if he comes back, usually he should train five weeks in a row if everything is perfect, only friendly games, and then he can join the first team . . . like a pre-season.
"But we all know the road is never perfect, so we have to try our best and see."
Sturridge has featured in just 72 of 144 Liverpool games since he joined the club, starting just seven Premier League last season.
"I know everyone has tried everything for him to be on the pitch," said Klopp.
"But some time it would cool if he could play."
In Sturridge's absence, Klopp is relishing the chance to develop the qualities of Christian Benteke, admitting he was interested in signing the striker while at Borussia Dortmund.
"I know a lot about him because when he was at Aston Villa we were interested too," he said.
"A brilliant player but each person needs time so he can get better. He did not play too often in our formation so it was not so easy, but with time he can get better and better.
"I can tell you that I am not sure that Robert Lewandowski could have developed into the Robert Lewandowski of today in England because no one is patient enough.
"Robert made seven goals in his first year and I don't know what you would write: not good enough, come on, sell him?
"(Pierre-Emerick) Aubameyang needed three years for his performance at the moment."
Meanwhile, Klopp has revealed he has met former manager Brendan Rodgers since replacing the Northern Irishman. "He is a nice guy and we had a good talk," said Klopp. (© Daily Telegraph, London)
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