Roberto Martínez believes there is a greater risk of James McCarthy missing the Merseyside derby should the Everton midfielder alter his natural game at Crystal Palace on Saturday.
The Republic of Ireland international will miss Liverpool's visit to Goodison Park on 23 November if he collects a fifth booking of the season at Selhurst Park. McCarthy has formed an impressive central midfield partnership with Gareth Barry since his £13m arrival from Wigan Athletic but has collected three bookings in his last six appearances for Everton, plus one for his former club against Barnsley.
Martínez insists McCarthy's yellow card count stems from adapting to his new club. But, even with his central midfield options limited after Darron Gibson was ruled out for the season with a cruciate ligament injury, the Everton manager fears it would be a self-fulfilling prophecy to instruct McCarthy to avoid a booking at Palace.
"I won't say anything to him," said Martínez. "Through experience you realise that when you've got something in your head, normally it goes against you. He needs to be normal and natural with his way of play and that will allow him to be himself.
"James McCarthy isn't a player that gets bookings in his normal way of playing. Last year he played every single game for Wigan and in 38 games he was never banned because of a yellow card. It's a situation where he's come to a new club and been adjusting and adapting and getting to know the players around him. That's probably why he's got the number of bookings that he has."