Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp cannot guarantee Daniel Sturridge more game time even if the forward stays at the Premier League club.
Sturridge, 28, is linked with a move away from Anfield in January after starting just five league games this season.
Klopp said he was unable to offer the England international any assurances over his game time.
“I have never in my life promised a player game time for the next few months. It is not possible. We have mentioned all the things like it was so far,” the German told UK newspapers.
“When Daniel is fit, training in shape he is still an outstanding striker there is no doubt about that. But he did not play the last few weeks – for different reasons.
“Of course one of them was Roberto Firmino’s performance, then Dom Solanke’s development. And Daniel was in and out of training.
“In general more in than out in training, but the time he was in he was a little unlucky with games. That was the situation, not more.”
Sturridge last netted at least 20 league goals in a campaign in 2013-14, when he made 26 starts, and a move could help propel him into World Cup contention.
Klopp said he was unsure if the forward would remain at the club beyond the January transfer window.
“I cannot give an answer on that. It is an open thing. There are a lot of rumours around and that this moment there is nothing to say about it,” he said.
“So far we needed him and we will see what happens in the next few days, to be honest.”