Jack Grealish faces several weeks out injured as Aston Villa boss Dean Smith concedes they need to manage his workload.
The playmaker has been crucial for the midlands outfit this term and his absence comes with Villa still in European contention.
Grealish has not played since the goalless draw at Brighton back on February 13 having picked up a shin problem.
Since then Villa have had to do without their talisman but were desperate to get him back.
Grealish has since suffered another issue however and will face more time on the sidelines.
“Jack had a setback last week,” said the Villa boss. “Myself and Jack were probably a little too optimistic trying to get him back.
“He wanted to be back for the Tottenham game and we tried to push him for Fulham but he’s had a setback which will probably keep him out for a few more weeks. We need to de-load him.”
Grealish is expected to be named in Gareth Southgate’s England squad ahead of this summer’s European Championships.
Villa will now travel to Anfield for Saturday’s clash against Liverpool without the England star.
Grealish scored two of his side’s seven when they beat the Reds 7-2 earlier this season, a win that Smith ranks as his highest.
He said: “It’s certainly the best result [of my managerial career], with the quality of the squad and team that Liverpool are, what they’d done the previous two seasons.
“Virgil van Dijk was still in the team as well. There was some fortune within that game – we scored three deflected goals. It was an outstanding game.
“Ollie Watkins scored a hat-trick and he came off disappointed that he should have scored more.
“It was a really top performance and one that we can certainly look back at over time.”