Stephane Henchoz has been ruled out of Liverpool's push for a Champions League place.
The 29-year-old defender was pencilled in to play for the reserves against Sunderland tonight.
However, manager Gerard Houllier believes it would be foolish to rush Henchoz back.
Instead the Swiss international is not likely to appear until pre-season when Liverpool will know whether they are playing in the Champions League or the UEFA Cup.
"Stephane has not made it in time to play for the reserves tonight. Unfortunately I don't think he will be available before the end of the season. There's no point rushing him back.
"We have three competitive games left to play and he won't be ready."
Henchoz needed surgery on a calf injury following the Worthington Cup victory over Manchester United, which assured the club of a UEFA Cup place at least next season.
Djimi Traore will retain his place against West Brom on Saturday even though he was responsible for Charlton's goal at Anfield on Easter Monday.
Liverpool recovered to win with two late goals and re-ignite their hopes of a place in the Champions League.
Houllier added in the Liverpool Echo:
"Djimi has played very well in Stephane's position and will continue there."