Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini feels he has no choice but to start returning striker Sergio Aguero against Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium.
The leaders face Jurgen Klopp's men on Saturday and the forward has declared himself fit after missing the last seven matches with a hamstring injury since his stunning five-goal haul against Newcastle United.
It is a timely return for Aguero, as fellow striker Wilfried Bony has been ruled out with a hamstring problem of his own, which was suffered in the draw with Aston Villa prior to the international break.
Pellegrini believes that gives him little choice but to start the Argentina international, who he will be relying on to tell him when the time has come to come off against Liverpool.
"It will be difficult because Sergio has gone so many days without playing and I don't think he is ready to play 90 minutes or to play two or three games in a week," said the manager.
"It is important for him to evaluate during the game how many minutes he feels he can play.
"But he must start in this game because we don't have Bony and it is important for the team to have Sergio."
City are only ahead of second-placed Arsenal - who have an away game against West Brom - on goal difference.