Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini hopes Carlos Tevez will return to the club at the beginning of next week.
The striker headed home to Argentina to deal with a family matter and will miss his third match in a row tomorrow when they face Liverpool.
City then take on Stoke in an FA Cup replay followed by title-chasing Chelsea in a hectic round of fixtures.
Mancini is anxious to see Tevez in a City shirt sooner rather than later.
He said: "I hope he solves this problem and comes back as quickly as possible. I am frustrated he is not here.
"It is a serious problem as we have some very important games coming up and we need him.
"I don't think he will be here on Sunday but maybe he will come back Monday for the Stoke game."
Mancini has admitted having an argument with Craig Bellamy but denied a report of a serious rift with the striker.
Bellamy could in fact come into contention against Liverpool after being sidelined with a knee injury.
Mancini revealed they had a difference of opinion about the way the problem was being managed.
He said: "He wanted to work in one mode, I preferred another mode. The matter is now resolved.
"It is important the player is happy. If he wants to work half an hour before training with the physio, that's OK.
"He is having treatment at the training ground and if the knee is OK, he will be available for Sunday."
According to the report, Mancini screamed at Bellamy after the player refused a request to train on Thursday with one of the manager's Italian staff.
Mancini apparently then told him not to come back for three months.
That was emphatically disputed by the Italian, who said: "Today Craig is here, working with the physio. It was the same yesterday. These things (an argument) can happen in a job. I don't have problems with Craig."
Mancini believes he can handle Welshman Bellamy's feisty personality after working with the best in the game.
Former Inter Milan coach Mancini said: "I have worked with players who won the Champions League and the World Cup.
"They had the right attitude and that is very important. So I have no problem with Craig.
"He is an important player for us. I have respect for him and all my squad."
Mancini will be without Patrick Vieira after the English Football Association confirmed he will serve a three-game ban.
Tevez is also absent while there are fears Martin Petrov could be sidelined for up to four weeks with a knee injury.
Former Arsenal midfielder Vieira opted not to contest a charge of violent conduct.
The veteran Frenchman escaped punishment at the time after kicking Stoke's Glenn Whelan between the legs during Tuesday's 1-1 draw at the Britannia Stadium.
But he was charged after video evidence was reviewed and will now miss Premier League games against Liverpool and Chelsea and the FA Cup replay against Stoke.
Since joining City, he has already been booked twice in four appearances. His first came against Hull earlier this month before he received another yellow card on Tuesday for a separate foul on Mamady Sidibe.
Mancini was disappointed with Vieira's conduct and said: "Patrick made a mistake as far as I am concerned.
"He will now miss three important matches. It is a big problem for me, as he is experienced, and for Patrick as he needs games."