Kenny Dalglish will not hurry the Liverpool captain, Steven Gerrard, back into action before he is ready, promising before Thursday's Europa league tie against Sparta Prague to "think a bit longer term than just one game".
Gerrard has missed Liverpool's last two games due to a groin problem and Dalglish is anxious not to bring him back into the fold too soon. The manager told the club's website: "Steven is almost there. Whether he gets there in time or not remains to be seen but we're not going to push somebody into a game that's not quite ready.
"Much as Steven would love to play and we'd love to have him, I think we've got to think a bit longer term than just one game. But if he's fit and well, he'll come under consideration like everybody else.
"I think it's important we adopt the same philosophy as we've had before with the likes of Jay Spearing, who could have carried on a little bit longer with his injury but we wanted to get it done and dusted and get him looked after.
"Daniel Agger was the same, Martin Skrtel got a rest last week [in the first leg against Sparta], Martin Kelly got a rest, so I think we've got to be consistent in our approach to things and, if there is any doubt whatsoever, if we can get by without Steven, then we will do. Daniel is fit now, so he's up for consideration."
As for Liverpool's record signing, Andy Carroll, Dalglish says he is still some way off being considered for action but is ahead of schedule in his recovery from a thigh injury.
"He has done everything that has been expected of him up to this time," Dalglish said. "The medical people and ourselves on the football side are delighted with his progress. He's still got a bit to go before he'll be considered for a match but he's probably a little bit ahead of schedule rather than behind schedule."