Jurgen Klopp is unsure about selecting Fabinho against Aston Villa due to the Liverpool midfielder being at risk of missing the top-of-the-table clash with Premier League champions Manchester City next weekend.
Fabinho had a slow start to life on Merseyside, with Klopp opting to ease the former Monaco man into the fray as he adjusted to the intricacies of football in the English top tier.
Patience paid off for the Liverpool manager, with Fabinho now considered to be among the best defensive midfielders in the modern game.
Indeed, the 26-year-old's emergence has allowed Klopp to shift former go-to anchor Jordan Henderson into a more attacking role, and the skipper may have to slip back into that position should the Reds boss decide not to risk Fabinho at Villa Park.
“I don't know yet,” Klopp said of Fabinho's potential inclusion against Villa on Saturday. “I will have to see. I know he is [one booking away]. No challenges at all!
“It is not possible against Villa to play without tackles. We know that. We have to deal with this information, either him or me with the line-ups.”
Another cause for concern at Anfield – and elsewhere – is the growing number of fixtures lined up for the season.
Between domestic leagues, cups, European competitions and national team duty, Klopp echoed the sentiments of many other top-flight coaches in asserting that it is simply too much for squads to handle and stay at the peak of their powers.
“We wonder why the best players in the world cannot perform as good as they can for as long as they want,” he said. “The discussion is obvious that it is too much [football].
“People say have a bigger squad. In the moment, it's an imbalance between squad numbers and the amount of breaks they need. Two weeks off a year [is not enough].
“At the end of January after a busy December there are two semi-finals. Why have two semi-final legs? We have FA Cup games at the weekend. No one wants to touch it. Let's have a look at how they deal with it.
“If we play in [the Club World Cup in] Qatar, we can't leave any players at home. Two games in a busy period... we can't just take 11 players. It won't work like this.
“The situation is clear. The solutions are possible but there is not one day anyone discusses anything about the players and not about their wallet. We cannot change this.
“These are the games and we will play them but someone has to think about how many games.”