Date: 8th September 2011 at 11:13am
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LIVERPOOL captain Steven Gerrard is close to returning to the team after five months out through injury. The 31-year-old hopes to return to action in time to face Tottenham at White Hart Lane next weekend but will now definitely miss the trip to Stoke on Saturday. Gerrard has not played for Liverpool or England since March after undergoing surgery on his groin.

He told Liverpool’s official website: “I feel really good and I’m back kicking balls again – it’s all positive. I should be back in full training on Thursday or Friday.”

Gerrard added: “I won’t be involved against Stoke next Saturday but my plan is to hopefully be involved in the game against Tottenham. It will be Kenny’s decision when I come back in.

“At the moment it’s all good and I’m itching to get back. In fact it’s worse than itching, my stomach is turning.

“It’s been a tough five months for me since I had the surgery. It’s been up and down emotionally and I’ve missed playing so much.

“I’ve had a good rest, I’m fired up and I’m raring to go again. I know I’m going to come back fitter, stronger and hungrier than ever.”

Gerrard had initially been expected to be back for the start of the new Premier League campaign but he suffered a setback in July when he was admitted to hospital with an infection related to the groin injury.
He said: “Since coming out of hospital my rehab has gone really well. I’m really happy and positive again. My groin is as strong as it’s ever been.

“My groin is tested when I’m working and the physios collect data. My groin scores now are better than before I even started feeling my groin.

“What I’ve done over the past four weeks tells me that’s the case and I’ve got total confidence in it.”