Gerrard hoping to face Baggies

The 30-year-old midfielder has missed three matches, although only

one in the Premier League, after undergoing surgery on a groin

problem on March 10. However, he is optimistic of being available

to face former Reds boss Roy Hodgson at the Hawthorns on Saturday,

the first of the remaining eight games they have to catch

fifth-placed Tottenham and qualify for the Europa League. “I’m

hoping to be in full training on Thursday and available for

selection for the weekend,” said the England international. “It’s

up to Kenny (Dalglish) whether he thinks I’m ready or not. I’m

really looking forward to getting back.” Liverpool are four points

behind Spurs, who have a match in hand, but Gerrard believes they

still have a chance of “sneaking” back into Europe having been

knocked out of the Europa League by Braga earlier this month. And

the likelihood of having January signings Andy Carroll – scorer of

England’s goal in last night’s 1-1 friendly draw against Ghana –

and Luis Suarez both fit for the run-in increases the optimism of

the Reds captain. “Our league form since Kenny came in is the best

in the league so it’s really positive,” Gerrard told talkSPORT. “He

is a player’s manager. Players like playing for him because he

talks to them, he’s honest with them. “We’re hoping Kenny can bring

the glory days back. We know there’s a lot of hard work to do yet

but there has been an improvement. “We’re just going to try to win

the rest of our games and try to finish as high as we can. “The aim

for us is to try and sneak back into Europe come the end of the

season. “We believe now that we’ve got the most feared strikeforce

in the league. “One thing that’s important to remember with Andy is

that he’s superb on the floor. “If we are in a difficult game or we

are chasing a game we can be more direct but the good thing is

because we can mix it up, we can play either way now. “We can play

in behind, we can play long, and with Suarez running off him. “It

gives us a whole new dimension.” Suarez has made more of an impact

since his £22.7million arrival from Ajax, scoring twice in

five matches and starring in the 3-1 win over Manchester United

earlier this month. He is already targeting Champions League

qualification next season. “We are now four points off fifth

position and we have to try and finish as high as possible to leave

a good impression,” said the Uruguay international. “Liverpool are

a club at world level. In the last few games we’ve really improved

and played well and we hope we can continue winning points. “The

important thing will be next season. Hopefully it will go really

well and we’ll be able to go into the Champions League because

Liverpool are a Champions League club.”