Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish is seemingly resisting the urge to rush Andy Carroll into his starting line-up, despite needing to turn around a 1-0 deficit when they face Braga at Anfield tonight.
The Reds' record signing is continuing in his bid to regain full fitness but may have to settle for a place on the substitutes' bench yet again for this Europa League last-16 second leg tie.
Dalglish told the pre-match press conference that his £35million striker is nearing peak condition but is unsure of when he will unleash him from the start of a game.
‘The fitter he gets the more tempting it will be but when that day comes I don't know,’ he said.
‘He is fit and well but what we do with him remains to be seen. Whether we will start with him or he comes on in the second half will be decided by how he does in training and what we think is best for us tonight.’
Liverpool will be trying to overcome their Portuguese opponents without their inspirational captain Steven Gerrard, but the skipper is on the road to recovery following an operation on his groin:
‘Steven has had his operation and he feels good. He has started his rehabilitation already.’ Dalglish added.
Braga coach Domingos Paciencia has claimed Liverpool are not on a par with his side ahead of the game.
Paciencia brushed aside suggestions from Dalglish that the first-leg defeat was more down to a poor Liverpool performance rather than a good Braga display.
‘Most managers said when they played us at home, they say the same thing,’ said the Braga coach, whose side are bidding to reach the quarter-finals for the first time.
‘When we played Benfica, Porto (both of whom are still in the competition) and Sporting they are the ones who play well, the others not so good.
‘We are well aware it will be a different match from the first one.
‘We know Liverpool are a good team but for them to go through they have to score two goals.
‘We respect them a lot but it was an important win (in Portugal), not conceding a goal at home.
‘But whether home or away we always try to score and that will be the main aim tomorrow.
‘The best approach is to be aware of our possibilities and chances.
‘If we get through it will be history for Braga.’
Few changes are expected to the side which won last week, although captain Vandinho is expected to play having been out injured for a month.
For Liverpool, midfielder Jonjo Shelvey is training again after knee surgery last month but is some way short of being ready for action, as are Martin Kelly and Fabio Aurelio (hamstring), while striker Luis Suarez is ineligible.