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Aspas Hopeful of Improvements After Return from Injury

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It hasn't gone to plan for Iago Aspas since arriving from Celta Vigo this summer, but the forward is hopeful that his return from injury will be accompanied by improved form.

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Michael Dodge

The partnership between Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge has been, annoyingly overused nicknames aside, the most positive development of Liverpool's 2013-2014 season. They sit atop the Premier League goalscoring charts with eight apiece, and some of their link-up play--arguably the area in which their partnership still needs forming--has overwhelmed opposition defenses, giving Liverpool's attack an edge that's been sorely lacking. Sturridge has been a constant, but it's the return of Suarez in place of Iago Aspas that's seen improvements, and the Spaniard faded from first-team action before suffering a training ground injury that left him ruled out for over a month.

As Noel pointed out back in September, Aspas was always going to find it difficult once Suarez came back into the fold, but the injury only compounded what had become an increasingly frustrating early season run of form. In preseason he was positively Voroninesque, inspiring with clever movement, smart passing, and quality finishing, attributes that mostly went missing when he was deployed in an unfamiliar role in the first few Premier League matches of the season.

He's now just over a week or so away from a return of his own, and seems hopeful that his recovery will aid him in pushing on to improved performances:

"Not playing is frustrating, but I can take advantage of this stoppage, and try to get back to playing as soon as possible. I think I can improve; I am happy with the team's level but not so much individually because I think I can do a lot better. First I want to recover from my injury and afterwards I can use my qualities better and exploit them better as a centre-forward.

"I have been injured for four weeks, but I have been training for four or five days on the pitch - running and exercising. I am a lot better. Soon I will be able to kick the ball. In 10 days to two weeks I will be ready to play."

His mentioning of a centre-forward role seems deliberate enough; as noted, his early appearances came in an unfamiliar--and ultimately ineffective--spot more removed from attack, and he simply didn't have the composure or the quality to link play in the style of Philippe Coutinho or even fellow summer signing Luis Alberto. If he's going to flourish, it's going to be from positions similar to those he occupied in the preseason.

The presence of Suarez and Sturridge means those opportunities will be limited, but the crowded December calendar leaves room for a chance, as does Liverpool's pending involvement in the FA Cup. Whenever it comes, hopefully Iago Aspas will make the most of it.

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