Steven Caulker is unlikely to play for Liverpool before the end of the season as his summer return to parent club Queens Park Rangers looms. The English defender was signed on loan by the Reds during the January transfer window due to a major injury crisis in the defensive department.

The former Cardiff City star was on loan at Southampton at the time but his stay at St Mary's was cut short when Liverpool expressed interest. He was signed to provide cover in central defence, as Mamadou Sakho, Dejan Loren, Martin Skrtel and Kolo Toure were all sidelined by injury. Caulker has played just four minutes of Premier League football in three league appearances since his arrival in January.

The 24-year-old defender has fallen down the pecking order in recent months and has failed to make the matchday squad since mid-February. Caulker has been fit but has been unable to force his way into Jurgen Klopp's plans despite the manager resting a number of key players in recent weeks owing to their progress in the Europa League.

According to the Liverpool Echo, the defender is unlikely to feature for Liverpool in their last four games of the season — five, if they make the Europa League finals — and will return to QPR, who are currently 13th in the Championship. Caulker completed the full 90 minutes on just one occasion during his Liverpool stay against West Ham United in the FA Cup.

Klopp, meanwhile, has guaranteed that the Reds will play much better on Thursday when they face Villarreal in the Europa League semi-final than they did on Sunday, when they were beaten 3-1 by Swansea City in the Premier League.

"We played like we played and I saw it for the whole 90 minutes and there was not a lot I enjoyed, to be honest. We have to think about it and we have to recover, which is very important, and we will play much, much better than we did on Sunday," the Reds manager said, as quoted by the Liverpool Echo.

"We have to accept the result, which is what we do, and then we work and we will be better on Thursday."