Daniel Agger is set to hand Liverpool a major injury boost by returning to action next month.
The Denmark international has not featured for Liverpool since the 2-2 draw with Sunderland in September.
Agger picked up a calf injury on international duty last month and Reds boss Roy Hodgson feared the defender faced a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
However, Agger is making good progress on his fitness and Liverpool's Head of Sports Science, Dr Peter Brukner, is optimistic the centre-back will be fit for the hectic festive period.
"Daniel's injury is an unusual one," said Brukner.
"In the international game a month ago, he got a kick on the calf, and sometimes when that happens you get some calcification in the blood clot that forms there, and unfortunately that has happened in Daniel's case.
"It's just taken a lot longer than you would expect for something like that. The calcification, once it appears, takes about a month to dissolve and fully recover.
"Daniel has probably got another three weeks before he is back playing. It's a very disappointing and frustrating situation but there's not a lot we can do about it.
"Only time heals this sort of injury, so we just have to be patient with Daniel. But he'll definitely be back before Christmas."