The former Reds star suggests Jurgen Klopp is not convinced by Sturridge's attitude, but insists he has to show faith in him for the rest of the campaign.
Former Liverpool winger Steve McManaman has told Yahoo! that Jurgen Klopp must put aside any misgivings that he has about Daniel Sturridge and show faith in him as his first-choice striker for the remainder of the Europa League campaign.
Sturridge started both legs of the last-16 clash with Manchester United earlier this year, but only featured against Borussia Dortmund in the quarter-final as a late substitute in each game as Divock Origi was preferred in attack.
Origi's season-ending injury was seen as many people as Sturridge's way back into Klopp's side, but the German manager chose to leave the Englishman as an unused substitute in the first leg of the semi-final against Villarreal last week, preferring to start with Roberto Firmino and give Christian Benteke a chance as a late replacement.
However, with Liverpool likely needing to score at least twice at Anfield tonight to turn the tie around against the Spanish side, both fans and pundits such as ex-Red Jamie Carragher have urged Klopp to restore Sturridge to the side.
McManaman believes that Klopp is not Sturridge's biggest fan but insisted that the 26-year-old has the ability to fire Liverpool past Villarreal and to ultimate triumph in the competition if his manager puts his faith in him.
The pundit told Yahoo!: "It is pretty clear that Klopp is not entirely convinced by Sturridge for whatever reason, but he has to pick him for this game. We know his record is fantastic. You look at his goals-to-game ratio and it is as good as any Liverpool player who has ever played for the club.
"But Klopp demands a lot from his players and Sturridge needs to deliver in all areas. Clearly Daniel needs to have a work rate to go with his talent. That is what Klopp demands from his players and maybe that is what he has not seen enough of from Sturridge.
"His injury issues have been a problem in the last couple of years and maybe that has affected Klopp’s judgement of him a little, but Sturridge is good enough to get the goals that fire Liverpool to a trophy. If he does that, there will be no doubt that he deserves to be the number one striker at Liverpool going into next season."
As alluded to by McManaman, Sturridge's injury problems this season have severely restricted his impact and playing time, but they have not stopped him boasting a superb strike rate in front of goal.
The England striker has made just 23 appearances for club and country during the campaign, but nevertheless has scored 11 goals in just 16 starts for the Reds.