Fit-again Gerrard glad Liverpool's dead wood has been cleared out
Published 23:00 05/09/11 By David Maddock
Steven Gerrard returns to action this week, desperate to join the Anfield revolution.
The Liverpool skipper has ended his injury rehabilitation and can now resume full contact training.
And the midfielder – who insists he will come back stronger and fitter than ever – can’t wait to contribute to the buzz surrounding the club after massive investment from their new owners and the return of Kenny Dalglish.
While Gerrard is pleased with the £50million worth of reinforcements brought in this summer, he thinks that offloading such a lot of dead wood could prove equally important.
Liverpool’s squad was full of players on massive salaries with little or no chance of making the first team, but now the likes of Joe Cole on almost £100,000 a week, and Raul Meireles and Milan Jovanovic (£75,000 a week) are off the books.
So to wipe the slate clean and significantly reduce the wage bill is a massive bonus in Gerrard’s eyes.
“There’s a real positivity around the place and that has come from the very top – the owners have been superb and have backed Kenny really well,” said Gerrard.
“Damien Comolli and Kenny have been really smooth operators in the transfer market.
“What is really important is they’ve shifted a lot of players who were no longer involved and sitting on good contracts.
“They’ve done unbelievably well to move them on. And they have brought in some quality players who are hungry and want to do well for the club.
“I’m really happy with the shape and the numbers we have in the squad and I’m excited about this season. You want to play with good players and I just can’t wait to get back and lead the lads out.”
That could be as early as next week, with Liverpool arranging a special behind closed doors friendly to give their captain some much-needed match practice, before his possible return against Spurs on September 18.
The England man has been swamped by rumours suggesting his career was finished because of the extent of the groin injury that has sidelined him for six months.
And while he revealed he was forced to undergo “major, career-saving” surgery to finally clear up the problem, he insists he is fitter than ever and bursting to get back into action.
“I’ve heard all the rumours, and I am getting to the point where I’m worried if there are no rumours about me, but the fact is, the tests have shown my groin is stronger than ever before,” he said.
“But I’m just so excited about getting back and getting that first win under my belt - at that point all the hard work I’ve put in and all the little setbacks I’ve had will be worthwhile.
“We have started really well, and we are aiming high. As far as the league is concerned, a top four finish is vital. It’s important we bring Champions League football back to the club.
“Fingers crossed we are still in the title race when it comes down to the last 10 games – that’s the plan.”
While Gerrard could be back in action within a week, midfielder Charlie Adam could be ruled out of the weekend visit to Stoke, after picking up a hip injury on international duty with Scotland.
New signing Craig Bellamy though, has been training with his new club, and should be in line for a debut at the Britannia Stadium, while Andy Carroll will be raring to go to send out a message to critical England boss Fabio Capello.