Daniel Sturridge will want to quieten his naysayers by scoring a few goals when Liverpool host Augsburg in the last 32 second leg of the Europa League Thursday.
Augsburg and Liverpool played out a 0-0 draw in the first leg, making this second leg tie very much up for grabs. Liverpool have the advantage, considering the match will be played at Anfield, however, with Jurgen Klopp's men unable to put a string of consistent results together, Augsburg will fancy their chances.
If the Bundesliga side score one goal at Anfield, it will mean Liverpool need at least two to make it through to the pre-quarterfinals of the Europa League, and the man they will look to, to score those goals will be Sturridge, who made an impassioned defence over critics who suggested his head is no longer in the game, following another injury-ravaged season.
"To say a player doesn't want to play is the biggest disrespect you could ever say to any individual footballer, to be honest," Sturridge, speaking to reporters, was quoted by Liverpool's official website. "It's astonishing and disappointing, [from] whoever is saying it.
"It's very disappointing to hear that from whoever says it, but it's football and people are entitled to their opinions. All I can say is I don't think anybody will understand how much it means to me to play football. As I said, I will continue to do my best and focus on playing for Liverpool Football Club -- and that's all that matters."
All that will matter for Klopp as well is a passage through to the next round, irrespective of the manner of the performance. While Liverpool failed to score in the first leg in Germany, with Sturridge amongst those who fluffed their lines, the Reds were in goalscoring mood in their last Premier League encounter, when they beat Aston Villa.
That match on Valentine's Day is what they will look to emulate when Augsburg come calling Thursday.
Team news: Liverpool: Klopp will be without Joe Allen, Dejan Lovren, Adam Lallana and Martin Skrtel, along with long-term injury victims Danny Ings and Joe Gomez. With the Capital One Cup final against Manchester City just three days away, Klopp also has call to make on his starting lineup, but the German insisted his team decisions will not have any bearing on the marquee match on Sunday.
"We have to be fully concentrated and give everything for this game," Klopp told the club website. "If we think, for example, to leave this player out then for sure he will be injured in a training session. So it's not allowed.
"We have to be fully concentrated on this game and then go to the next one. That's how we select the team. The only other thing we have to think about is who is available?"
Augsburg: The Bundesliga side will be without Jan-Ingwer Carlsen-Bracker, Markus Feulner, Raphael Framberger and Ji-Dong Won.
Where to Watch Live
Liverpool vs Augsburg is set to begin at 6 pm local time (11.30 pm IST, 1 pm ET). Ten Action will broadcast the UEFA Europa League match live in India, while the game can also be watched via live streaming online on Ten Sports Live.
Viewers in the UK can watch the match live on BT Sport Europe, with Watch BT Sport and the BT Sport App being the online live stream options. Viewers in Germany can watch Liverpool play Augsburg live on Sky Sport, while the match can also be live streamed on Sky Go Germany.
Watch the Europa League second leg last 32 match live in the US live on Fox Sports 1, while the live stream option is on FoxSoccer2Go.
The Champions League game will be shown live in Middle East, Canada, Australia, North Africa, Spain, France, Indonesia and Thailand on Bein Sports, while the online live streaming option is on Bein Sports Connect.