Newcastle boss Eddie Howe may have to wait 75 minutes before kick-off in Liverpool to find out if he can make his debut for Alexander Isak.
The 22-year-old Sweden international completed a £58m move from Real Sociedad on Friday but was unable to make a first appearance for the club in Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Wolves because his work permit had not been processed.
As Howe held his pregame press conference on Tuesday morning, that situation remained unchanged.
When asked if Isak would be available, the 44-year-old replied: “We don’t know, we still don’t know and I still don’t know. I hope so, I desperately hope so. It would be great to see him get involved for us, but we are always in other people’s hands.
“We’re desperate to get it done before the game, but there’s no guarantee as I’m sitting here now.”
When asked if there was an end point, Howe added: “I think it’s 75 minutes before kick-off. We don’t know, so it could go down to the wire. We will wait and see.
Isak’s arrival appears to have come at just the right time with Callum Wilson, the Magpies’ top scorer in each of the past two seasons, facing several weeks on the sidelines with a hamstring injury, only for paperwork causes a delay.
Howe’s need grew after the match at Molineux when Allan Saint-Maximin, who had earlier scored a superb equaliser, limped off with a similar problem.
Frenchman and key midfielder Bruno Guimaraes – who missed the weekend with hamstring strain – is doubtful for the trip to Merseyside.
Howe, whose side made headlines last weekend after a thrilling 3-3 draw with champions Manchester City, has already grown accustomed to the rollercoaster existence of life at St James ‘ Park.
He said: “There will always be tests and moments meant to test you and you just have to try to find a plan in return and try to find a way around it.”
In the meantime, Howe will prepare his players for a tough game – Liverpool emerged from a trying start to the new campaign with a 9-0 demolition of Bournemouth on Saturday – with substitute goalkeeper Martin Dubravka seemingly heading for Manchester United.
The former Cherries boss has reiterated his reluctance to allow the Slovakia international to leave but has hinted that it was not his decision.
He said: “It’s not always about what I want or the club, it’s also about understanding the position of the player. Sometimes you have to look at things from two angles.
“There is no ideal world in football. You have to make a decision. The club has made its decision and we support it.
“Obviously I would like as many good goalkeepers as possible, and that’s certainly the case with Martin. But like I said, you have to understand the other person’s point of view.