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Premier League

Gerrard may return for Liverpool

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard could return to the starting line-up at Wolves tonight to give the club's push for the Barclays Premier League top four a welcome boost.

The England international was expected to be sidelined for at least a fortnight after sustaining a hamstring problem in the FA Cup exit to Reading on January 13.

However, he returned to action at the club's Melwood training ground over the weekend and could play at Molineux.

The team have not done too badly in his absence, denied victory at Stoke only by a last-minute equaliser before crucially beating current fourth-placed side Tottenham 2-0 last Wednesday.

Liverpool's unbeaten run is now four matches and, although that does not sound a lot, considering the problems they were having earlier in the season it is a platform to build on.

They cannot afford to allow momentum to slip as a victory over Wolves, whom they beat 2-0 on Boxing Day, coupled with favourable results elsewhere could see them return to the top four.

"It is good for us the captain is coming back as he is always important for us because he can change games," said manager Rafael Benitez.

"The mood is very positive and you can see we have more confidence but, in football, you have to win the next game."

Gerrard's return may be hugely significant for Liverpool, especially with striker Fernando Torres and Yossi Benayoun not expected back from injury for some weeks, but so were the goals against Spurs for forward Dirk Kuyt.

The Holland international has not been in the best of form but his two goals against Tottenham, his first in eight matches, were just rewards for a player Benitez rates very highly.

"He has a fantastic mentality," said the manager of the hard-working, uncomplaining Kuyt.

"We talk about him being a striker who has played on the right because we needed it and can also play as a second striker.

"When we played in the FA Cup (against Reading) and Philipp Degen had cramps, he (Kuyt) said to me that if I wanted he could play at right-back.

"It's not just his versatility and the fact he's in very good condition, it's his mentality. He's always ready to help the team.

"He is a player that every manager would want in their team. You can play him or not but he's always ready and always helping the team.

"When you talk about a squad or a winning team, you need players with this mentality.

"If you have to change something for a game or have to put a player out of position, he is always available. That's massive for a manager."

Kuyt's work-rate means he is almost always a certain starter but Benitez is aware this can sometimes count against the player in the long run.

"He is very important to the team and his physical condition is very good but sometimes we need to rest him," he added.

"With Maxi Rodriguez and Albert Riera coming back, and especially if we win some games, he will be easier to manage and we can give him a rest."