Gerrard close to Liverpool return

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard looks set to return to training next week less than a fortnight after having a groin operation.

It was initially feared that the England midielder would be out of action for at least one month but now it seems he could be fit to play against former boss Roy Hodgson’s West Bromwich Albion on 2 April.

However, the Liverpool captain will be given as much time as he needs to recover. Martin Kelly, Jonjo Shelvey and Fabio Aurelio could also be joining Gerrard in training.

The Reds’ first-team coach Steve Clarke spoke earlier today about the quartet’s recovery from injury: ‘They're all improving. They're our four longer-term injuries, the ones that have been causing us a bit of concern recently, but hopefully they'll all join in training next week.’

‘If they're in contention for West Brom it's a bonus for us, but if they're not we've got other difficult matches coming up next month against Manchester City and Arsenal and if they're ready for them then it will be good for the football club. It will be a difficult month in April with a lot of tough games, but if we can have our full squad ready to go then we'll look forward to the challenge.’

Kenny Dalglish’s side are just four points behind fifth-placed Tottenham and will need to overtake the London side if they want to play European football next season. Gerrard's return would be a timely boost.

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