Steven Gerrard could be in contention for the visit to West Brom at the weekend with manager Kenny Dalglish revealing the skipper has returned to training.
Gerrard underwent surgery on a troublesome groin injury following the 3-1 win against Manchester United. A limited fixture list, in part due to the international break, means he’s only missed one league game, the win over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. It’s a little early to say he’ll play this weekend, but Kenny is pleased with his progress: “Steven is training so he has done really well to get where he is.”
The last time Gerrard played for England was in a meaningless friendly against France, a game that saw him play longer than his club had requested and left him out of action for weeks. If Gerrard does make his comeback at the weekend the timing will prove to have been a masterstroke, at least from Liverpool’s point of view.
Dalglish also gave some updates on other players missing recently through injury: “Jonjo Shelvey is back training again but Fabio Aurelio and Martin Kelly have had setbacks with their recovery, so I suppose we’ve had a fifty percent success rate with injuries during this international break.”
Of the players who did go out with their countries for the internationals Kenny says: “Everyone is back now and so far no injuries have been reported.”
Meanwhile a former Liverpool goalkeeper, Nikolay Mihaylov, has probably ended any slim hopes he had of returning to the club by feeding speculation to the press about current keeper Pepe Reina.
Reina was the subject of interest and a firm bid from Arsenal last summer, but despite the player reportedly having a buy-out clause in his contract the Spanish keeper stayed at Anfield. Speculation will continue unless the player signs a deal that removes the clause, and until he does the club are at risk of losing a player who would be very hard to replace.
Now Mihaylov claims to have a bit of information about Pepe: “I know from my agent that Pepe Reina wants to go back to Spain. His desire dates back one or two years. He’s one of the best keepers in the world but his form is not as it should be at a club like Liverpool.”
The keeper not sticking to “the Liverpool way” hasn’t actually made an appearance for the Reds because he was unable to get a work permit. After spending some time on loan in Holland with FC Twente, a move that would eventually have qualified him for a work permit, the club chose to sell him anyway and the move to Twente was made permanent.
He claims Liverpool included an option in that deal that would entitle them to buy him back: “I think it’s absolutely real. The option was made when Rafa Benitez was in charge.
“Liverpool are a huge club. It wasn’t possible to get a work visa when I went there but now there’ll be no such problems because I’m playing regularly in the national team.”
Chances are he won’t be needing that work permit.