Brendan Rodgers insists Luis Suarez will gradually become more integrated into the Liverpool squad over the course of the pre-season as the club looks to fend off Arsenal's interest in the striker.
Reports in the British media on Sunday suggested the Gunners are preparing a third bid for Suarez, despite already being rejected twice by Liverpool.
Suarez made his first appearance of the pre-season in last week’s win over Melbourne Victory and was used as a second-half substitute in Sunday’s 3-0 win over Thailand.
Rodgers denies the transfer rumours have kept Suarez on the bench, admitting the Uruguayan’s lack of fitness and the fact that he will be forced to miss the first seven games of the Premier League season through suspension mean it is not vital to get him match fit.
"He has still got some way to go," Rodgers said. "He is a number of weeks behind the other players. I also have to consider that our focus over the course of pre-season is for the first game [of the Premier League] and Luis will not be available for the first game.
"But it is important he is very much part of the group. He is working hard on his conditioning and over the course of time as he gets closer to playing we will build him up to more minutes on the field."