Steven Gerrard delighted with return of Craig Bellamy to Liverpool

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The Independent Football

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard admits he never wanted Craig Bellamy to leave Anfield and is pleased the striker has returned for a second spell.

The 32-year-old Wales international signed a two-year deal on deadline day having come to an agreement with Manchester City over the final year of his contract.

Bellamy spent just 12 months with the Reds, having originally been signed by Rafael Benitez, before leaving in 2007.

"I'm delighted that Craig is back - I didn't want him to leave in the first place," Gerrard said.

"That pace and the fiery character he's got will help us in our push for success this season.

"When he was here before he was popular and one of the hardest working in training. He was always in the gym getting himself in good shape.

"What people need to realise is that Craig is a top professional. He works really hard day in, day out.

"He's very knowledgeable about the game and I know even though he's slightly older than me he will still want to learn and do well here.

"I'm sure he will be desperate to play for Kenny. He will have watched Liverpool from the outside like me in recent months and seen a lot of positive things.

"He will be excited to come back and we're glad to have him back."

There were plenty of departures from Anfield in the final couple of days of the transfer window with the last being that of Raul Meireles to Barclays Premier League rivals Chelsea in the last hour before the deadline in a reported £12million deal.

Like Bellamy, the Portugal international had only been at the club for 12 months having been signed by Roy Hodgson last summer for £11.7million from Porto.

That came as a shock to Gerrard, who is close to a return to fitness having been out since March after surgery on a groin problem.

"It (Meireles' transfer) was a bit of a surprise because of the timing," Gerrard told the Liverpool Echo.

"I don't think Raul had been too happy because he wanted more game time, but the players who have been playing before him have been doing really well.

"He put in a transfer request and I'm sure Kenny (Dalglish) and (director of football) Damien Comolli thought if he's going to be unhappy and doesn't want to be here then it was better to move him on.

"It was probably the right decision and we got good money back for him."