Detecting a liver disease is often difficult for it depends how troubled the patient is by symptoms before s/he visits the doctor. Early detection is important but the symptoms, such as nausea, indigestion, weariness, could be caused by other things, such as stress in the home or at work with the consequence that the patient ascribes their cause to these purposes rather than an illness.
The other difficulty with liver disease is that the rib cage prevents enlargement being detected in a physical examination until the liver is quite big. i.e. the situation is advanced. where there is reason to suspect liver disease, such as in a heavy drinker or when a patient has hepatitis, the doctor, will likely refer the patient for abdominal ultra-sound.
This imaging test of the liver uses sound waves to produce pictures that evaluate the size and shape of the liver. It will also show the blood flow through the liver. This information is what is needed before treatment can begin.