Manchester City could have Sergio Aguero, Fernandinho and Raheem Sterling in the squad for this weekend’s trip to Tottenham as they all battle back to full fitness.
Aguero has played just 178 minutes of football in the past four months but is stepping up his recovery from a hamstring injury he suffered in last month’s 1-1 draw at West Ham, which forced him to be substituted at half-time.
The 32-year-old has been training alone but is expected to take part in sessions with the first-team squad this week.
Aguero missed the first five games of the season as he recovered from a knee injury that ruled him out of last season’s Premier League run-in and the Champions League mini-tournament in Portugal in August.
City have been without a recognised striker for much of the campaign with Gabriel Jesus suffering a groin injury in the opening game against Wolves.
Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp were united before the international break that the players needed more protection and that the football schedule should be looked at.
“My business is to protect my players. It’s all I want, to be fit, no injuries. When they arrive to the training sessions, they are exhausted,” the City boss said.
“LeBron James won the NBA title and now he is on holiday for one, two, three months. These guys [footballers] have eight days, two weeks and after games, games, games.”