Kenny Dalglish has hinted that Steven Gerrard may have to wait until after the international break to make his first Liverpool start following a six-month injury lay-off.
Gerrard is desperate to play a key role in Saturday's Merseyside derby against Everton at Goodison Park after two brief substitute appearances since recovering from a groin problem. But Liverpool manager Dalglish indicated that his influential captain could again start on the bench after insisting that he will not rush Gerrard into action for one of his team's most eagerly-awaited fixtures of the season.
"The game's not the important thing. Steven Gerrard's more important and as I have said before, we'll manage Steven as well as we possibly can," said Dalglish when asked if he was tempted to hand Gerrard his first start since 6 March.
The last time Dalglish stood in the Goodison Park dugout as Liverpool manager, he watched his side throw away the lead four times to draw an FA Cup fifth round replay in February 1991. Two days later Dalglish confirmed his departure in an announcement which shook the footballing world.
Now refreshed and rejuvenated, Dalglish returns to Goodison reluctant to discuss the events of 20 years ago. "We've been through all that many times before and there's no point in revisiting it," said Dalglish, who returned as Liverpool manager in January. "But if we get four goals on Saturday then we'll be delighted."
Dalglish is an admirer of the work fellow Scot David Moyes has done at Everton. "Moyesy's done a fantastic job," added Dalglish. "We have a great deal of respect for him and also for Everton. He's a good lad and we know him well.
"But come Saturday the two of us will be rivals and that's the way it should be. Afterwards we'll have a drink and move on. We know Everton are going to stand up and be competitive. We've got to match it."
Daniel Agger could make a surprise return to defence after returning to training on Thursday. The Denmark international was expected to be out for four weeks with two cracked ribs he suffered during a 4-0 defeat at Tottenham earlier this month. But Agger may feature as Liverpool seek only their second clean sheet of the season.
Everton's Tim Cahill is relishing the opportunity of adding to his impressive goal tally against Liverpool. The Australian international has scored five times in 13 Merseyside derbies since joining from Millwall seven years ago.
"I think it is one of the biggest (matches) other than playing for your country in a World Cup," said Cahill. "The derby is magical. It is not only the day of the game, it is after, it is before, it is the grudges, the banter. For those 90 minutes the whole of Liverpool stops and you have countries around the world watching.
"Going into the game, whether you are injured or you have little problems whatever, it is forgotten. Everything is left on the pitch and for me, coming from Australia, I feel the same sort of attitude.
"I found it hard to get here, I have this opportunity so I just don't want to miss a second on the pitch - I want to try to affect it, hence why I've had so much joy in the derbies. For the fans and for me it means everything because it is part of my life now."
Cahill is winning his fitness battle after suffering a shin injury during Everton's 2-0 defeat at Manchester City last week.