Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez has played down claims the Italy international - reassured by national boss Marcello Lippi over his World Cup final chances this week following six months of injury problems - will start Saturday's home match with Manchester City.
Aquilani has now recovered from ankle surgery but has so far managed one 15-minute spell in a reserve match and two similar cameo roles in senior matches with Arsenal and Birmingham.
Eager to start: Aquilani has made two substitute appearances for Liverpool since his summer move
Barry boosts Manchester City as midfielder looks set to face LiverpoolTorres back in training: Liverpool striker could return against Man CityLiverpool would already be down and out if it wasn't for Reina, says HansenCheer up Stevie G: Kop old boy Alonso tells skipper to get over him But although Liverpool are still suffering from injury problemsahead of the crunch match with City, Benitez is worried about pushingthe Italian too hard.
He said: 'Alberto wants to play for us and he is so desperate to beinvolved as quickly as he can but he understands the reasons he cannotstart yet.
'He wants to keep improving his condition and now it is just amatter of him keeping calm as it will not be long before he is there.He is pushing us all the time.
'He is very positive and wants to help the team now but you mustremember that we have a responsibility to him, and we will not take anyrisks at this stage.'
Under pressure: Benitez will be desperate to beat Man City on Saturday
The 25 year-old is likely to start Saturday's lunchtime kick-offagianst City on the bench, with Benitez saying: 'I spoke with him inthe gym this week and he is very positive, his spirits are good.
'We have meetings every day with our medical staff to see how muchwe can keep pushing him and when the time is right to increase thelevels of his work.
'He is a player who can pass the ball and we have seen that in thegames he has played so far, even though he has not had too much time onthe pitch.'
Liverpool will welcome Steven Gerrard, Glen Johnson and Daniel Aggerback to first-team action for Saturday's game, although Fernand Torresis unlikely to be involved, desptite taking part in some light trainingthis week.
Back in town: Torres took part in training this week but will not be ready for City clash
Fabio Aurelio is still ruled out with a calf injury that robbed himof his first cap for Brazil during the international break, while youngstriker David Ngog - despite breaking his nose while training with theFrench Under-21 side - will be in the squad.
Yossi Benayoun and Albert Riera, who are believed to both have hadtreatment in Belgrade this week with physiotherapist Mariana Kovacevic,could also be involved despite expecting to be out for a month withhamstring injuries. Kovacevic has come to prominence recently following treatment forArsenal's Robin van Persie that involves the use of placenta cells.
Jamie Carragher still has two matches of his three-game suspensionto serve, but can be involved in Tuesday's Champions League trip toBudapest to face Debrecen.
Barry boosts Manchester City as midfielder looks set to face LiverpoolTorres back in training: Liverpool striker could return against Man CityLiverpool would already be down and out if it wasn't for Reina, says HansenCheer up Stevie G: Kop old boy Alonso tells skipper to get over him
Explore more:People:Alberto Aquilani, Jamie Carragher, Daniel Agger, Glen Johnson, Rafa Benitez, Fabio Aurelio, David Ngog, Steven Gerrard, Albert Riera, Robin van PersiePlaces:Liverpool, Birmingham, Budapest, Italy, Brazil