Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers admits top scorer Luis Suarez deserves a rest ahead of this weekend’s FA Cup tie at Mansfield.
However, that does not necessarily open the door for new signing Daniel Sturridge to walk straight into the side as his replacement.
Suarez has scored four goals in his last two matches to take his tally to 18 for the season, which includes 15 in 20 Barclays Premier League matches.
The Uruguay international is pivotal to his side’s chances of making a bid for the top four and a trip to a non-league club on a less-than-perfect pitch may be too much of a gamble.
Rodgers is keen to protect Suarez where possible - even though he knows the 25-year-old will want to play this weekend.
“The players are paid here to play wherever the club ask them,” said the Reds boss.
“Every game is a massive game, whether it is Mansfield away or Manchester United away.
“Luis is a player who loves playing, that is why he is here: to play games and score goals.
“I speak a lot with him and I know from working with him he wants to play.
“He is an ultimate professional. There are no worries with him.”