Liverpool defender Fabio Aurelio admits the return to fitness of captain Steven Gerrard has given the squad a timely boost.
The England international is set for his first start since March 6 when Manchester United - coincidentally the team he faced the last time he was in the first XI - line up against the Reds at Anfield on Saturday.
Gerrard has made three substitute appearances totalling just under an hour this season after a delayed comeback from a groin operation, but the international break has given him more time to get himself ready for the clash with their arch-rivals.
"We are all delighted that Stevie is back," said Aurelio.
"He is the captain and a great player, and it is a massive help to the team to have him playing again.
"Gerrard's availability is an added ingredient into what should be an exciting but difficult game for both teams."
Aurelio, who has yet to feature this season, is also fit again and is relishing the visit of the Barclays Premier League champions.
The Brazilian played in the 3-1 win at Anfield last March and while he is unlikely to be considered on Saturday he is looking forward to the encounter.
"After winning the derby we will go into it with a lot of confidence," he told LFC Weekly.
"It is always exciting. It's a pity that it comes just after an international break because it means you don't have as much time to prepare because players are away with their countries but that is the same for both clubs.
"It seems like they (United) have a new team with new players coming in during the summer.
"Like us, they all seem to have settled in well. They are in good form so it will be difficult but we are confident."