Premier League champions Manchester City should not risk injury doubt Kevin De Bruyne against leaders Liverpool on Thursday, according to captain Vincent Kompany.
The Belgium international missed the 3-1 defeat to Southampton due to a muscle problem, and has been absent for swathes of the campaign due to separate knee injuries.
Liverpool's trip to the Etihad Stadium starts a run of seven games over 26 days for City and Kompany feels Pep Guardiola would be best off looking beyond the summit meeting this week.
"We all know Kevin's strengths and his ability to change a game," he told Sky Sports.
"I really don't know what physical state he is in.
"He seems to be alright but in a way I feel this season still has so much to offer.
"If I had to decide myself, what I would prefer is for Kevin to be fit for the rest of the season.
"Everybody is focused on Liverpool but there is much more we'll need him for."
De Bruyne faces a fitness test before his availability is determined for the visit of the Reds.
The former Chelsea and Wolfsburg star trained on Tuesday and underwent further checks on Wednesday and Guardiola confirmed that his condition is improving.
Jurgen Klopp is braced for De Bruyne to return but admitted that it would be a major boost to his side if the playmaker missed out.
"We can't specially prepare for Kevin De Bruyne," the German coach added.
"Missing a player like Kevin De Bruyne is a massive blow, unbelievable.
"He played only from time to time and he was unbelievably influential immediately.
"He scored fantastic goals, he's just a world class player.
"I expected that he's playing, I'm happy that he's not seriously injured again, I said before that I was really happy when he was back.
"They have a lot of options, obviously, if he would play that would give them a massive boost, yes."