Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish will not to rush captain Steven Gerrard back into action before he is ready, vowing to "think a bit longer term than just one game" ahead of their Europa league tie against Sparta Prague.
The 30-year-old England midfielder has missed the Reds' last two games due to a groin problem and Dalglish will not risk bringing him back into the fold too soon.
He told www.liverpoolfc.tv: "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. As 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.
Dalglish added: "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 (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."
Meanwhile, Dalglish insists record signing Andy Carroll 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," said the Scot. "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.
"It's great for him and it's great for us. He wants to get a game but obviously patience is again a word that we need to adopt for him and for us."
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