Dalglish urges caution with Gerrard

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish has warned fans not too expect too much from captain Steven Gerrard as he makes his long-awaited recovery from injury.

Football News: Steven Gerrard, Liverpool

Gerrard has been hampered by a groin problem over the past few months, but returned to the field on Monday in Liverpool's 0-0 draw with Blackburn.

His entrance was warmly received by the Anfield faithful, although he was unable to help his team find a way past Jason Bunn in the Rovers goal.

But despite a strong belief from Liverpool fans that Gerrard's return will solve the Reds' scoring problems this season, Dalglish has called for the expectations to be lowered as his captain slowly rehabilitates from his lengthy layoff.

"We could do with a few more goals, and Steven may be able to help us," Dalglish told The Guardian. "He's got goals in him, as well as charisma, presence and everything else.

"But every player in the side is capable of scoring goals, we can't just put it all on Steven's shoulders.

"If we are going to be a one-man band we've no chance. Everyone single one of us is going to have to score a few more goals.

"There's no magic formula."

Nonetheless, Dalglish admits Gerrard is looking in good shape at the moment, although he sees no reason to throw the England international straight back into the thick of things.

"He looks unbelievably fit at the moment. I think he feels the bad luck might all be behind him now.

"He just needs game time but we won't be irresponsible. We'll just take it as diligently and professionally as we always do.

"There's no need to throw him straight in. He's not ready to last 90 minutes yet, and he's experienced enough to recognise that.

There's no panic. We'd rather have him for the rest of the season than just a couple of games right away."

But despite some of Liverpool's critics suggesting that their inconsistent form this season has been down to the absence of their on-field leader, Dalglish refutues these claims, revealing that Gerrard's influence is felt on a daily basis, even when he was out injured.

"It's great to have him playing again, but he's never really been away from the club. He's always in and around the club and the training ground anyway, just like Jamie Carragher. It's a bit like having three captains at the moment [Pepe Reina has captained the side in their absence], and that can only make us stronger.

"There's no doubt that Steven has made a massive contribution to the success of this football club, and he's managed to do it in a lot of the games that really meant something, but you don't actually know how the season would have gone had he been playing.

"It might have been different, it might have not."

Still, Dalglish believes his team deserve credit for the way they have carried on in Gerrard's absence, and is hoping for further improvement in 2012.

"I just think it's a great credit to the rest of the lads that they have done so well without Steven.

"Our target for the new year is to build on the work that's already been done. When you consider how far we've come since August, we are pretty pleased.

"We could be higher in the table but apart from the one at [league leaders] Manchester City [Roberto Mancini], every manager in the Premier League would say the same thing."

Liverpool are currently 6th in the Premier League, just three points ahead of Newcastle, who visit on Anfield on Friday evening.



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