Steven Gerrard returns for Liverpool but Charlie Adam to miss rest of season

 

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard is back in training after being rested at the weekend, but fellow midfielder Charlie Adam has had his season ended by injury.

Gerrard was left out of the squad for Sunday's home defeat to West Brom as a precaution in order to protect a minor hamstring niggle.

With nothing but pride left to play for in the Barclays Premier League, manager Kenny Dalglish does not want to take any chances with the England international with an FA Cup final coming up in just over a week's time.

"He's fine, no problem," was the Scot's assessment on Gerrard.

"We said it was just a precaution so he's back training. He's been training all week, so there's no other problems."

Central midfield has been a problem area for Dalglish this season with Gerrard absent for the majority of the first half of the campaign - making just five appearances between August and December - after groin and then ankle problems.

He then lost Brazil international Lucas Leiva, seen as a pivotal figure in the Liverpool set-up, to a knee injury in November which required surgery and prematurely ended his involvement.

Gerrard has returned to full fitness in the second half of the season and has been paired alongside Adam, Jordan Henderson and Jay Spearing.

The latter has taken over as first-choice after Adam's initial loss of form and then his injury in the 3-2 defeat at QPR on March 21, and looks set to continue after Dalglish confirmed his fellow Scot would not be returning before the summer break.

"There is no operation needed but he won't play this season," said the Reds boss, who also warned Great Britain coach Stuart Pearce the midfielder was unlikely to be available for consideration in any London 2012 plans.

"And I would think if they had any designs on having him in the Olympics he wouldn't be fit for that either."

The extent of Adam's injury has taken some time to come to light as Dalglish initially said it would be a fortnight before they could say definitively, but it has taken a while longer to have it confirmed.

Adam was on crutches for Liverpool's FA Cup semi-final victory over Everton at Wembley just under a fortnight ago but by last weekend he was walking unaided.

It brings to an end a disappointing first season at Anfield for the 26-year-old, who arrived from Blackpool for £6.75million in the summer with high expectations after impressing for the Seasiders despite their relegation from the top flight.

However, after an encouraging start, scoring on only his fourth appearance for his new club, Adam's form dropped.

He missed a penalty in the Carling Cup shoot-out win over Cardiff in February and soon after, having been a regular starter, he lost his place to Spearing.

 

With three matches in eight days coming up - including the cup final against Chelsea next weekend - Dalglish may be tempted to rest a few other players in the coming days.

He has resisted the urge to throw in some of the club's youngsters who have done well in the reserves, although he did give teenager Raheem Sterling his first-team debut in last month's defeat to Wigan.

But he maintains he has enough depth to ensure the team can compete in their remaining four league matches as they look to improve on a disappointing eighth place.

"I think everyone deserves to play," he said.

"We've not picked a squad yet (for Saturday's trip to Norwich, who are only three points behind) but everyone is capable of playing in the Premier League.

"We will have a look tomorrow at what we have got and will pick the team accordingly."

PA

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