Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka has confirmed that Gaston Ramirez will miss tomorrow night’s clash with Liverpool and he will not risk striker Alvaro Negredo.
Both Ramirez and Negredo missed Boro’s 1-0 defeat at Southampton on Sunday, in a match where Karanka’s side recorded just two shots on target.
Yet, the Boro boss confirmed that Wednesday’s match against Jurgan Klopp's side will come too soon for Ramirez.
Ramirez has not trained but Negredo could return
"Gaston is not available because he has not trained," said Karanka in his pre-match press conference. "Alvaro may be ready, but I don’t want to take risks.”
The Spaniard is also wary of a busy Christmas fixture list, which sees Boro play five games in the space of 20 days from 14 December to 2 Janaury.
After Liverpool have visited the Riverside, Boro host Swansea three days later and Karanka is already taking that fixture into account.
"We have another big game on Saturday (against Swansea City), and the Christmas period in this league coming up is very important.
"But once again I will put the best team out to beat Liverpool."
Karanka looking forward to Christmas fixture list
Despite this, Karanka admitted that he is looking forward to the next few weeks.
“It’s an important period in the Premier League,” he told Sky Sports in a live televised interview.
“We lost (against Southampton), but I think the performances have been really good so we’re looking forward to those games."
Karanka is also pleased with the way that his team have competed since their promotion back to the top flight. Boro have impressed away at Arsenal and Manchester City this season and Karanka hopes that his players can draw on those performances when they face Liverpool tomorrow night.
“We are a recently-promoted team and we have shown we will create chances and compete against every single team.
“We are together and we are going in the same direction.”
After spending most of his professional career in Spain, Karanka said that he is now getting used to England’s busy Christmas fixture list.
“I think I am used to it now,” he said.
“In Spain, you can spend more time with your family, but you think about all the families here and how important the football to them, it’s amazing."
Boro's defeat to Southampton on Sunday saw them drop down to 16th in the table. Meanwhile Liverpool lost more ground on leaders Manchester City by drawing 1-1 at home to West Ham.