Dietmar Hamann has urged Liverpool not to push Daniel Sturridge too hard as the injury-prone forward bids to string a consistent run of matches together.
After missing the majority of last season and the opening weeks of the 2015-16 campaign, Sturridge is back on the pitch for Liverpool.
Sturridge made his return from injury against Norwich City on September 20 and opened his account for the season with a brace in Liverpool’s 3-2 win over Aston Villa on Saturday.
Despite Sturridge’s goalscoring form, Hamann said Liverpool must show patience with the 26-year-old England international.
“It’s a massive boost to have him back, but if Liverpool are to be successful then he’s got to be there now for the next 20-30 games,” Hamann told the Liverpool Echo.
“It’s no good doing it for a couple of weeks and then being out again, because then the whole team has to change again. He has to show he can stay fit, and hopefully he will.
“It’s massive to have him available. Obviously he missed a lot of games, so we need to keep him fit – especially if Christian Benteke is going to be out.
“If you’ve got somebody with pace who can stretch defences and score goals, then it’s a massive plus as we saw on Saturday. It brings the level of other players up as well.
“I do think that this is why you shouldn’t be too harsh on some of the players who came last year, because they were pretty much playing the season without a centre forward.
“For now, they have that centre forward. But they need him consistently, not just for five or six games.”