Steatosis is a condition of hepatic fat overload that is associated with overweight and the metabolic syndrome. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has become the most common liver disease with a global impact on healthcare. A proportion of NAFLD patients develops nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), liver fibrosis, cirrhosis or hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Identifying patients at risk for potentially life-threatening complications is crucial in their prevention, surveillance and treatment. In addition to hepatic disease progression (cirrhosis, portal hypertension, HCC), NAFLD patients are also at risk of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases as well as extrahepatic malignancies. Liver fibrosis is related to morbidity and mortality in NASH patients, and biomarkers, imaging techniques (ultrasound, elastography, MRI) as well as liver biopsy help in diagnosing fibrosis. In this review, we discuss the tools for identifying patients at risk and their reasonable application in clinical routine in order to stratify prevention and treatment of this emerging disease.