Kenny Dalglish hails Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher influence
Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish admits the influence of Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher at the club extends far beyond what they offer on the pitch.
The Scouse pair have only just returned to the squad in the last week - Gerrard after suspension and Carragher following recovery from a shoulder operation - but have helped continue the winning run which began in their absence.
Gerrard has played the last three matches against Fulham, Stoke and Chelsea while Carragher - an unused substitute against the Potters - played a pivotal role in the win at Chelsea on Sunday.
Dalglish is hopeful his captain will recover from a groin injury which forced him to miss England's friendly over Denmark in time to play against Wigan on Saturday, when the Reds will be looking for their fifth successive victory.
But, even though the Scot has had the duo available for less than half of his seven matches in charge, he insists they have played a full part in the turnaround in fortunes over the last month.
"They are relied upon whether they are playing or just on the premises," he said, "Carra and Stevie are fantastic servants to the club and it is great to have them about.
"Whether they are playing or just in and around the training ground they are a great asset to the club.
"Obviously the more often they are on the pitch the greater the asset they are.
"But we have a a squad here which is capable of achieving good things on a football pitch and that is what we will try to do - get them to fulfil their potential."
One of the players who has yet to fulfil his potential at Anfield is summer signing Joe Cole.
The England international arrived from Chelsea on a free transfer and promptly got himself sent off in the first match of the season at home to Arsenal.
After serving his three-match ban he had a run of games in the side before a hamstring injury in October sidelined him for six matches.
Since returning in the Europa League draw against Steaua Bucharest on December 2 the 29-year-old has played a full 90 minutes just once and has yet to play for Dalglish, having been an unused substitute for three matches last month before his latest knee injury.
But the Reds boss remains hopeful Cole, when fit, will be able to add something to his rapidly-improving side.
"Obviously he got off to a bad start when he got sent off in the first game," said Dalglish.
"He lost a bit of the momentum he gained and he's picked up a few injuries but was training really well here and then just tweaked his knee a bit.
"He'll be a bit frustrated but so are we because it would be great to see Joe on the pitch.
"But, given a bit of luck, he shouldn't be too far away and I'd have thought if we get Joe Cole fit and available, he'll be a good asset for us."
While Cole seems unlikely to be ready for Saturday's visit of Wigan, Dalglish is more hopeful over Gerrard.
The 30-year-old withdrew from England's squad to face Denmark in midweek after Sunday's win at Chelsea in order to have treatment on a groin injury at the club's Melwood training ground all week.
"It's only Thursday so we'll find out when we get nearer the weekend - obviously we hope he will be," said the Scot of Gerrard's chances.
"At the moment there is no-one on international duty that is coming back with injury problems."
Liverpool are likely to be without 18-year-old midfielder Jonjo Shelvey, however, after he sustained an injury.
"Jonjo Shelvey got a bit of bad news on his knee so we will just wait to get that finally diagnosed and see what has to be done," added Dalglish.
"He has done well so it is a disappointment for everyone."
The club's £35million record signing Andy Carroll is continuing his rehabilitation from a thigh problem sustained while he was still at Newcastle.
"Andy is progressing very well. We never gave a date and we won't put a date on it - we just said it would be a few weeks," added Dalglish.
"As long as we are patient and Andy is patient we'll be okay but we won't be rushing him back."
Midfielder Jonjo Shelvey has been ruled out for the next three months with a knee tendon injury.
The 18-year-old withdrew from England Under-19's friendly against Germany on Tuesday and further assessment at the club's Melwood training ground has revealed it is a significant problem.
"I'm a bit down at the moment but I'm just hoping now I can come back stronger," Shelvey told liverpoolfc.tv.
"I am now going to take a 12-week rehabilitation and hopefully I'll be back soon."
Shelvey has become a regular among the substitutes since Dalglish took over last month and is clearly rated by his manager, who brought him on in all of his first six matches in charge since taking over from Roy Hodgson on January 8.
Dalglish said of the teenager, signed from Charlton towards the end of last season: "He has done well so it is a disappointment for everyone."
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