Liverpool - Injury-plagued Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge has been ruled out of Tuesday's League Cup semi-final first leg at Stoke after suffering a minor setback in his recovery from a hamstring problem.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, who has just one fit striker in Christian Benteke, had hoped to get Sturridge back ahead of this week's cup double-header, with the Reds also set to face fourth-tier Exeter in the FA Cup on Friday.
However, Sturridge, who hasn't played since making a substitute appearance in Liverpool's 2-0 defeat at Newcastle on December 6, suffered another setback in training which will further delay his return.
"Daniel had some problems, not serious, but could not make a session and we had to wait a day," said Klopp, who has likened the past month to pre-season for the England international.
"Because he didn't have one session with the team it was not the usual plan for this week.
"It is how a pre-season can be. Some little things happen and we have to handle this.
"It is not a row of sessions and we say 'Now we are here and go...'
"I will pick him when he is ready, I will not hold him back."
Despite a paltry return of just 22 goals in 20 Premier League games this season -- the lowest in club history -- Klopp said he would not be taking any shortcuts to try and remedy their goalscoring woes.
"It would be easy for me to say 'Come on, let's try, we have problems, we don't score enough goals, let's see what will happen' but we have to wait and be patient."
Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson is also set to miss the trip to the Britannia Stadium after a recurrence of a foot injury which sidelined him for Saturday's 2-0 defeat at West Ham.