Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson fears that he will be unable to persuade £25million-rated Javier Mascherano that he has a future at Anfield if the club receive a realistic offer.
The Argentina captain has told the Merseyside outfit's hierarchy that he wants to end his stay, as speculation suggests that his family have become unhappy in England.
Mascherano, who was linked with Barcelona last summer, is himself thought to want to leave in order to follow former manager Rafa Benitez to Inter Milan and it was reported in July that the midfielder had started to learn the Italian language.
Hodgson played a part in Fernando Torres' recent decision to confirm his commitment to Liverpool by visiting the Chelsea and Manchester City target during his post-World Cup holiday.
But the Reds' new boss, who succeeded Benitez at the beginning of July, does not believe that he will be as effective in influencing Mascherano, telling a press conference broadcast on Sky Sports News: "I think that will be slightly more difficult.
"If a big offer comes in for him and it is a club that he wants to go to, I think that will be harder.
"But the good thing for me at the moment is that we haven't had that offer and as a result I can continue to work with him and deal with him as a Liverpool player and consider him as a Liverpool player and just wait for the day, if the day comes, when the offer comes in.
"Then maybe if the offer comes in and it was the offer that meets our valuation and he wants to go, then I don't know that my powers of persuasion will be much good in that situation.
"But maybe they will never be needed because we might not get the offer and he might stay with us."
Hodgson was speaking ahead of Liverpool's Europa League qualifying second leg against FK Rabotnicki at Anfield on Thursday.
Mascherano will not be involved in the match as he has not been registered for the early stages of the competition, with reports suggesting that UEFA Champions League winners Inter are considering a formal offer in the region of £17m and £20m.
That figure would not meet Liverpool's rumoured valuation of £25m, but the club are understood to have already made £6m enquiries about Juventus' Christian Poulsen as a possible replacement.