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Gerrard May Face Hull City

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Despite being expected to miss six weeks, Steven Gerrard could make an early return to action against Hull City. Whether this should be seen as a miraculous recovery or concerning development is an open question.

Clive Brunskill

Steven Gerrard was expected to be out for at least six weeks when the Liverpool captain limped off against West Ham early in December, but with Liverpool short of options in the middle and Hull City due in town on Wednesday, Brendan Rodgers today revealed he could be set for an early return. If he does make the matchday squad, it will mean having spent only three weeks on the sidelines.

"Steven has joined training, and we will see how he is for Hull," Rodgers said at his pre-match press conference. "We will assess it over the next 24 hours. It's just been unfortunate. The medical team, aligned with our training philosophy, have ensured the players have been fit for the majority of the time I've been here. It's just really in this last period of four or five weeks, which have unfortunately dealt us a big blow."

The optimistic take on Gerrard's unexpected double-time recovery from a hamstring injury is that his quicker than expected return could hand Liverpool a major boost just when the club desperately need it with Allen out injured and ahead of a stretch of matches Liverpool will almost certainly need to take maximum points from to stay in the thick of the top four race.

A more pessimistic viewpoint might involve questioning if Gerrard is truly fit enough to even be in consideration for Hull or if his potential inclusion speaks to Rodgers' and the club's desperation—the same kind of desperation that saw Joe Allen face Chelsea after being given an injection for an adductor strain and that means the player will miss a few weeks as a result

Regardless of whether Gerrard is ready to go, though, it's likely Brad Smith and Jordan Rossiter will get another chance on the bench on Wednesday. Liverpool's injury woes saw both youngsters included on Sunday, with Smith getting a surprise debut off the bench, and both must be considered favourites to face Oldham in the FA Cup on the fifth of January.

"They are only kids, especially young Jordan," said the manager of 19-year-old Smith and 16-year-old Rossiter. "He's a young player that only came into the football club full-time this season. He has been playing regularly in the U21 team and doing exceptionally well. He's a tough boy that has got a great mindset. That was as much preparation for him for the future, being around a big game and what it feels like.

"For both of them, it has been a great opportunity. They have been up here training with me along with Jack Dunn, who is another talented young player. They are getting experience being in and around the squad."

Along with Allen, Mamadou Sakho is expected to miss a few weeks with a hamstring injury, while Daniel Sturridge, Jose Enrique, and Jon Flanagan remain out of contention. Despite earlier question marks, Jordan Henderson is expected to be fit start against Hull City.