Manchester United forward Wayne Rooney will not feature against Liverpool having failed to recover from injury in time, manager Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed.
Rooney, 27, has been sidelined since picking up a knee injury during training on Christmas Day, but Ferguson had always been confident that the England international would return in time for Sunday's derby clash at Old Trafford.
However, that schedule has now been revised - with the midweek FA Cup replay against West Ham a more likely comeback fixture for Rooney.
"Wayne's still out," Ferguson said on Friday. "I'm hoping he starts training today, in which case he won't be far away.
"I don't think it's a big issue but it will help him along. The injury is quite straightforward so if he starts [training] today we should have him available for Wednesday's game."
Rooney scored both goals in the win over Liverpool last season but has missed the last four games after picking up a knee injury.
There was more positive news elsewhere in the squad, however, with the Scot confirming that both Nani and Anderson will be in Sunday's matchday squad following injury layoffs.
Phil Jones is also approaching a return, although the cup replay is a more realistic target for the former Blackburn trainee.
"Nani's back in training and will be in the squad on Sunday. Phil Jones is back, although I think Wednesday is more likely for him," Sir Alex revealed.
"Anderson has been back training for 10 days so he'll be in the squad on Sunday. All in all, we're in a healthy situation. How long it will last I don't know but it's good to have them