Jurgen Klopp has again ruled out the possibility of Steven Gerrard rejoining Liverpool on loan this season, but acknowledges the club are still coming to terms with the departure of their inspirational former captain.
Gerrard brought an end to his lengthy stint at Anfield earlier this year, moving to LA Galaxy after 17 years in Liverpool's first-team squad.
The ex-England skipper has since trained with Liverpool during the MLS off-season, sparking rumours of a possible temporary return.
Yet Klopp, who has previously suggested Gerrard would be welcomed back with open arms after his playing career is over, told Sky Sports News: "I'm a very optimistic guy, but Stevie has another year's contract in Los Angeles."
"No [he will definitely not be coming back on loan], but if we can help him with whatever, we will do it, of course."
Pressed on the challenge of replacing Gerrard, the German added: "It's the first year after Stevie - the dominant player of the last 20 years and then he went out of the dressing room.
"How could the players immediately fill this gap, how could they do it? They start and they all try, but these are young lads.
"It's not an excuse, it's only to describe the situation. That's all the things that we're working on."
Klopp also sought to dampen expectations regarding potential January transfer activity at Anfield.
He said: "We have problems with injuries, unbelievable. [But] because everyone is asking me for transfers, it's not a reason to do them.
"We are prepared for all situations, we know the whole market, we know the prices, all of these things.
"If we have more injuries - and we have enough injuries - we have to think about it. If not, we have to work with the players we have."