Kuyt: Pool boosted by Gerrard return

LIVERPOOL striker Dirk Kuyt believes the future is bright at Anfield as skipper Steven Gerrard prepares to return to the side on Sunday against Newcastle.

Kuyt recently followed Gerrard and manager Rafael Benitez by committing his long-term future to the club. He said: “I think it’s important for Stevie and the manager to have extended their contracts because they are vital to the club.

“I’m really happy with my own deal and I think there will be a few more players to follow us. That is good because we have a great team and I hope we can win a lot of trophies together.

“There are not many better clubs than Liverpool. I’ve been here for almost three years and I’ve had a great time, playing with the best players in the world. Once you sign for Liverpool, you want to stay here as long as possible.”

Gerrard has returned to training after recovering from a groin injury. It is a welcome boost for Liverpool ahead of the match, especially as they could be six points adrift of leaders Manchester United come kick-off as their rivals face Middlesbrough on Saturday.

“Steven is doing well and is training with the rest of the team. I think he will be fit and available for Sunday,” Benitez said.

“It is good news for the team and for him because he can be a key player for us over the remaining games. Without Steven the squad has been playing well and scoring goals, so that is positive.”

Benitez insists his thoughts are only with continuing their title bid and not potential business in the transfer market after Xabi Alonso was linked with a move to Juventus. “I was reading the press and they are talking about different players,” said Benitez.

“I can guarantee today that we are not thinking about selling anyone. All we are thinking about is to do our job and to try and win the Premier League title, if possible.

“After that you never know what can happen in the market. Clearly, at this moment, we are just preparing for winning games.”

Kuyt believes a settled squad has been a key factor in their title bid.

He said: “This team is getting better and better and I think the most important thing is we have spent a long period playing with each other.

“We have made a lot of progress this season,” he added.


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