Liverpool Club Focus – Gerrard on the verge of return to Reds action

After six long months out with a groin injury, Liverpool’s inspirational skipper Steven Gerrard could be on the verge of returning to first-team action when the Reds face Tottenham Hotspur this weekend. If Gerrard does not feature against Spurs, then he is highly likely to make the squad for the League Cup third round trip to Brighton and Hove Albion on Wednesday.

The 31-year-old midfielder has not been involved in a game for the Merseyside outfit since their excellent 3-1 win over arch-rivals Manchester United in March last season, but Kenny Dalglish may select his main man for the squad which will travel to London ahead of Sunday’s crunch clash.

However, Dalglish has made it very clear that Gerrard will not be rushed back. Liverpool will monitor his fitness and make sure the former England captain is 100% fit before throwing him back into Premier League action. But if Gerrard makes the bench at White Hart Lane, then his presence will give the Reds a huge boost as they look to bounce back from the 1-0 defeat at Stoke City last time out.

A fit and raring to go Gerrard is always of use to the Merseysiders, and the midfielder’s return could be more important to the Reds than some observers are suggesting. Liverpool have started the season relatively well despite the absence of their talismanic skipper, leading some to believe that Gerrard will not be as vital a player for the Reds upon return as he has been in the past. However, such is the quality of the local hero that he will only help, not hinder, Liverpool’s recent progress.

Indeed, some would say that the Reds need Gerrard more now than they have needed him for some time. Liverpool are slightly light in the attacking midfield department following the departures of Raul Meireles, Alberto Aquilani and Joe Cole. The creative skipper could add a greater sense of invention to the team.

It will also be interesting to see how Dalglish would incorporate Gerrard back into the squad. Would the 31-year-old replace the promising Jordan Henderson on the right-hand-side of midfield, or would he get into the team ahead of either Charlie Adam or Lucas Leiva? An alternative might be to play Gerrard in behind a single striker. It remains to be seen which of these options Dalglish will use.

Speaking about his skipper, Dalglish said: “There is no date for Steven to come back, no date whatsoever. If he has been out that long, you may as well wait until it is totally right. He will only play when he is fit and well and when it suits us. When he is at that stage, it will be fantastic for everybody but mainly for Steven himself. He loves playing and has been out for a while. The sooner he is back, the happier he will be.

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