Steven Gerrard hopes to return for Liverpool this weekend

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard hopes to be fit to return against West Brom this weekend and lead the club's push for European qualification.

The 30-year-old midfielder has missed three matches, although only one in the Barclays Premier League, after undergoing surgery on a groin problem on March 10.

However, he is optimistic of being available to face former Reds boss Roy Hodgson at the Hawthorns on Saturday, the first of the remaining eight games they have to catch fifth-placed Tottenham and qualify for the Europa League.

"I'm hoping to be in full training on Thursday and available for selection for the weekend," said the England international.

"It's up to Kenny (Dalglish) whether he thinks I'm ready or not. I'm really looking forward to getting back."

Liverpool are four points behind Spurs, who have a match in hand, but Gerrard believes they still have a chance of "sneaking" back into Europe having been knocked out of the Europa League by Braga earlier this month.

And the likelihood of having January signings Andy Carroll - scorer of England's goal in last night's 1-1 friendly draw against Ghana - and Luis Suarez both fit for the run-in increases the optimism of the Reds captain.

"Our league form since Kenny came in is the best in the league so it's really positive," Gerrard told talkSPORT.

"He is a player's manager. Players like playing for him because he talks to them, he's honest with them.

"We're hoping Kenny can bring the glory days back. We know there's a lot of hard work to do yet but there has been an improvement.

"We're just going to try to win the rest of our games and try to finish as high as we can.

"The aim for us is to try and sneak back into Europe come the end of the season.

"We believe now that we've got the most feared strikeforce in the league.

"One thing that's important to remember with Andy is that he's superb on the floor.

"If we are in a difficult game or we are chasing a game we can be more direct but the good thing is because we can mix it up, we can play either way now.

"We can play in behind, we can play long, and with Suarez running off him.

"It gives us a whole new dimension."

Suarez has made more of an impact since his £22.7million arrival from Ajax, scoring twice in five matches and starring in the 3-1 win over Manchester United earlier this month.

He is already targeting Champions League qualification next season.

"We are now four points off fifth position and we have to try and finish as high as possible to leave a good impression," said the Uruguay international.

"Liverpool are a club at world level. In the last few games we've really improved and played well and we hope we can continue winning points.

"The important thing will be next season. Hopefully it will go really well and we'll be able to go into the Champions League because Liverpool are a Champions League club."



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