Steven Gerrard may start for Liverpool against Manchester United

October 11, 2011 4:21 am 0 comments

Steven Gerrard is in contention to make his first Liverpool start in seven months against Manchester United on Saturday as he continues his recovery from a groin injury.

The Liverpool captain has not started a competitive fixture since the 3-1 win over Sir Alex Ferguson’s side at Anfield on 6 March, a contest that aggravated a persistent groin problem and left the 31-year-old requiring surgery.

Gerrard’s scheduled return for the start of this season was delayed due to a virus connected to the operation but he has made three substitute appearances for Kenny Dalglish’s team since 21 September and, having been omitted from the England squad who secured qualification for Euro 2012 against Montenegro last week, is pushing for a starting role against United.

Liverpool have handled the return of their influential captain carefully and were grateful that approach was reflected in Fabio Capello’s selection policy against Montenegro. The extra fortnight’s training has increased Gerrard’s prospects of a return in the lunchtime game at Anfield, when Liverpool will be seeking a fourth successive home league victory over their great rivals.

Jordan Henderson, Liverpool’s £20m summer signing from Sunderland, has admitted Gerrard’s improving fitness could have repercussions for his first‑team prospects but insists he will respond to the competition.

The England Under-21 captain has made a slow start to his Liverpool career although, prior to the recent Merseyside derby win at Everton, he had been a regular in Dalglish’s starting plans. Henderson said: “I am not really worried about that [Gerrard's return]. I think it’s part and parcel of football. Stevie is a massive player and is going to play in most games but I just need to concentrate on what I need to do and make sure I work hard every day in training. Given the opportunity, I need to take it and make sure I stay in the team.”

Henderson admits it was a setback to be omitted at Goodison Park but believes he has adjusted well to the big‑money move from his hometown club in the summer. The midfielder said: “The derby is a massive game and everybody wants to play in it. So I was a little bit disappointed not to start but the team did brilliantly and got a great result and I was fortunate to come on as well.

“There were still a lot of positives to come out of the game and hopefully I can start the next one. I think I have settled in OK. I am enjoying my time here and the lads have been brilliant, as well as the fans. I now need to kick on and do even better.”

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