Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish is adamant he will not risk Steven Gerrard's fitness by rushing him back into the starting XI for Saturday's Merseyside derby.
The talismanic captain has only recently recovered from a groin injury which kept him sidelined for six months and is yet to start a match this season.
Gerrard has made two brief appearances as a substitute this month, against Wolves at Anfield in the Premier League and at Brighton in the Carling Cup, but other than those outings has not featured since March.
Reports suggest the 30-year-old will be on the bench once again when the Reds make the short trip to Goodison Park to face Everton on Saturday lunch-time.
Asked whether the fact that Saturday's game is a derby makes it more tempting to hand Gerrard his first start of the season, Dalglish made it clear his skipper's fitness takes priority.
He told Liverpool's official website: "No. The game is not the important thing - Steven Gerrard is more important.
"As we've said before, we'll manage Steven as well as we possibly can."
Meanwhile, Dalglish has confirmed that centre-back Daniel Agger has resumed training following a spell on the sidelines with injury.
The Denmark international picked up a fractured rib during the defeat to Tottenham earlier this month but trained alongside his team-mates on Thursday ahead of Saturday's derby.
The manager also revealed Glen Johnson is on the brink of a first-team return as he continues his recovery from a hamstring problem.
He said: "Daniel Agger is back training today and Glen Johnson is on his way as well.
"Everybody else has trained fully."