KENNY DALGLISH is contemplating whether to call upon two of Liverpool's highly-rated Academy youngsters for Monday's clash with Manchester City at Anfield.
The Liverpool boss, who will be without skipper Steven Gerrard for the rest of the season, is short of defensive options ahead of the match with Roberto Mancini's side.
The absence of injured trio Glen Johnson, Daniel Agger and Martin Kelly has led to teenage full-backs Jack Robinson and John Flanagan training with the first team at Melwood this week.
Left-back Robinson, 17, became the youngest player in the club's history when he made his debut at Hull on the final day of last season, while right-back Flanagan has yet to make a senior appearance.
Dalglish has high hopes for both of them but insists he must be convinced they will benefit from the experience.
“We will take everyone who is fit into consideration but we've got to be responsible with the development of youngsters,” he said.
“There's no way we want to be irresponsible and ruin the work they have done so far at the Academy and the work the kids have done themselves.
“The younger ones have also had a lot of games this season. We need to be conscious of that and we have to pick our moments when they are asked to play.
“We don't want to ruin any young player's career by putting them in when really it would be unfair."
Gerrard won't play again this season but Liverpool are yet to establish the full extent of his groin injury.
The skipper had an operation last month and was on the verge of a comeback when he broke down in training a week ago.
Dalglish said: “Until we find out from the specialists we cannot say anything definitive. It is best to wait until we know exactly what the problem is and then we will decide whether it is more surgery or not.
“It’s a similar area but it’s not the same injury he had before so we’ll just have to wait and see.
“Steven won't be involved again this season. It's a big blow and it's very disappointing for the player.”
The manager has guided Liverpool from 12th place to sixth in the Premier League since he took over in January but he insists that's no cause for celebration.
“This football club is not ready to settle for sixth place as good enough, but we must recognise we need to improve on the pitch to aim higher,” he said.
Meanwhile, Liverpool will play a pre-season friendly against Valerenga in Norway on August 1. The game will be played in the national Ullevaal Stadium at 6pm UK time.