Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard will not be pressed into action sooner than he is ready, insists manager Kenny Dalglish.
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The talismanic midfielder returned to full training this week having recovered from a groin operation on March 10 which forced him to miss three matches, one in the Premier League and two in Europe – where he rarely featured this season any way.
Earlier this week Gerrard said he hoped to be available for selection for Saturday’s trip to West Brom to face former boss Roy Hodgson.
However, Dalglish is wary of of rushing back one of his more influential players when there will be seven other equally-important matches to follow in Liverpool’s run-in as they seek to reel in fifth-placed Tottenham in order to qualify for Europe.
"We’ll have a look. He’s recovered really well from the surgery he had so we’ll see how he is before we decide whether he’s in or out," said the Scot.
"He’s certainly done a lot of training this week – not all the training the other lads have done, but a lot of it.
"But two weekends ago at Sunderland Jay Spearing played really well.
"There is no need for us to be in a rush to bring Steven back."
There is mixed news on the injury front for Dalglish as, although all his players returned from international duty relatively unscathed, defender Martin Kelly has suffered a setback in his recovery from a hamstring strain sustained at West Ham in late February.
Fabio Aurelio’s return from a similar problem was delayed slightly by an unconnected injury but he should be back with the full squad by the end of the week.
Full-back Glen Johnson has a slight Achilles problem but midfielder Jonjo Shelvey has returned from knee surgery earlier than anticipated.
"Everyone has come back from international matches okay," said Dalglish.
"Martin Kelly picked up an injury while he was trying to recuperate, a wee recurrence in the same area.
"Fabio Aurelio has had a setback as well but it isn’t the same injury and he should be training before the end of the week while Jonjo Shelvey is back training."