Thiago Alcantara is unlikely to travel to St James' Park for Liverpool's Premier League clash against Newcastle United as his recovery from a knee injury must not be rushed.
Thiago has made just two Premier League appearances this season, suffering his setback in a 2-2 draw with Everton on October 17, but he returned to first-team training last week.
Jurgen Klopp is not willing to take any risks, however, as Liverpool aim to return to winning ways at Newcastle following a disappointing 1-1 draw with struggling West Brom on Sunday.
"I like watching all my players play," Klopp told reporters.
"With Thiago, he had a few minutes until he got injured, so of course we are looking forward to that but it's not really likely he'll travel."
Liverpool's first game of 2021 sees them take on Southampton at St Mary's on January 4 before visiting Aston Villa in the FA Cup four days later.
Klopp said the severity of Thiago's injury, sustained in a challenge with Richarlison, has enforced a cautious approach to his return to action.
"He needs a few sessions," the manager explained. "He was out a long time after a really harsh challenge.
"There was a proper impact, nothing ruptured, nothing broken, but that still took time. We will not rush it, so I don't know [when he will be back]."