Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said he now understands the expectation surrounding Daniel Sturridge after he scored twice in the League Cup win over Southampton.
The striker, 26, was given his first start by Klopp after injury problems.
Divock Origi netted a hat-trick and Jordon Ibe got the other as the Reds came from behind to win 6-1 and set up a semi-final against Stoke City.
"I said to Sturridge after the game 'now I know what everybody is talking about so thank you'," said Klopp.
- Relive Liverpool's thrashing of Southampton
- Report: Reds smash six past Saints
- Listen to all the goals on BBC Radio 5 live
Sturridge has been plagued by injuries since August 2014 and the match at St Mary's was just his fifth appearance of the season.
Last week, Klopp seemed to be sending a message to his striker by telling him to identify "what is serious pain and what is only pain".
After the victory on the south coast, Klopp added: "Of course I knew all about his quality, this was not a problem, but I had not seen it live in a stadium in such an important game.
"How do I know if he can be better than a couple of seasons ago? I don't know. You have known him longer than me.
"The problem with Daniel was we didn't know how long he could play. He did not have the perfect pre-season. It was a good decision [to select him], I have to say."
|Daniel Sturridge's injury woes|
|August 2014: Returned from pre-season tour early with hamstring injury|
|September 2014: Injured his thigh during England training|
|October 2014: Suffers a calf strain in Liverpool training|
|November 2014: Picks up a thigh injury having returned to full training|
|March 2015: Injures hip in defeat by Manchester United and has operation in May|
|October 2015: Suffers knee injury after three appearances|
|November 2015: Foot injury when on brink of return|
Koeman admits getting tactics wrong
Southampton conceded six goals in a home match for the first time in 20 years and suffered their worst home defeat since a 6-0 loss to Brentford in 1959.
Boss Ronald Koeman says he was to blame after deciding to change the team's system at half-time. They started the match with two centre-backs, before switching to three at the interval.
"I have to recognise it was a great Liverpool performance," said Koeman. "They played a fantastic game, very complete, defensively strong, good movements and they killed the game by high quality, but it was too easy.
"The second half was my responsibility because it was my decision to play three at the back. It was a little bit better for the first 20 minutes after half-time but we didn't get the goal and in the last 20 minutes it was my responsibility. There were too many big spaces.
"The balance of the team between attacking and defending is poor, really poor. That is my responsibility and maybe we have to change the system. Maybe we have to play more defensively, which I don't like because I'm a manager who likes to go forward, but we will speak with the players about that."
Analysis: Chief football writer Phil McNulty at St Mary's
"Klopp has been at Liverpool just a matter of weeks but the transformation is remarkable, with uncut adrenalin and confidence injected through every player and the German's message fully embraced by a squad that had lost its way under his predecessor Brendan Rodgers.
"As at Chelsea, Liverpool conceded an early goal here at Southampton but simply shrugged it off to overpower Ronald Koeman's side, who were almost visibly pleading for mercy by the final whistle in this 6-1 hammering.
"Klopp's intense 'gegenpressing' style is particularly suited to grounds away from Anfield, where opponents are almost obliged to attack, whereas at home they have found it more difficult when teams sit back.
"It worked a treat again here but the galvanising effect he has had on the club has been stunning - not so much a wind of change but a hurricane of optimism blowing through Anfield.
"Liverpool now face Stoke City in the League Cup semi-final, they are in the last 32 of the Europa League and just four points off the Champions League places in the Premier League. And Klopp was quick to remind those at Southampton that the FA Cup is still to come.
"Who knows where it will lead? But Liverpool are on the move under their charismatic new manager."